National campaign starts in the East to provide protective vest for fire and EMS officials

CHOCOWINITY, N.C. (WNCT) – A new national campaign to provide protective vest for all first responders has begun in the East.

DSM Dyneema in Greenville launched the campaign Monday with a focus group of first responders. They said their goal is to educate everyone about options when it comes to protective vest.

“Law enforcement is not the only personnel that needs to have armored technology, that needs to be protected,” said Patrick Smith, with DSM Dyneema.

Smith said their vest are unique, in the fact they are extremely light weight and non-restrictive. He said anyone, from a paramedic performing CPR, to a police officer on a hot summer day, could wear the vest and be protected.

Part of the challenge is overcoming the cost. Departments across the country are on extremely tight budgets, and the price of protective vests can soar above $1,000.

Smith said part of their campaign is to appeal to lawmakers to hopefully get departments bigger budgets for protective equipment.

Shane Grier with Chocowinty EMS said he’s all for the vest.

“I’d love to see vest on every truck,” he said. “I mean I think the more protective gear that you can get to the people that respond to this, the better off you are.”

Grier, who’s served as a paramedic for decades, has seen his fair share of dangerous situations.

“We see weapons a lot. A lot,” he said.

Grier said he and other paramedics on staff have bought protective vests for themselves in the past. But, unlike the new Dyneema vest, their gear is bulky and heavy.

He’s hopeful the campaign that launched in the East this week, can become a national reality to save lives.

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