City Times Staff
Lt. Ron Heibler of the Stevens Point Fire Dept. on Monday holds up one of the bulletproof vests the department stores in each of its EMS units for use by paramedics.
Each unit has two sets of safety gear, consisting of tactical glasses, a ballistic helmet and a vest fitted with level-five plates, which can stop up to five high-powered rifle blasts. The equipment weighs about 30 pounds, Heibler said, and is available for paramedics when they respond to a potentially dangerous call.
“You get those little hairs on your neck that stand up; sometimes we respond to calls likes that,” Heibler said. “But that’s when we call in the police or the sheriff’s office — those guys always got our back, no matter what.”
Heibler also referenced a 2015 Milwaukee incident during which a firefighter there was shot in the line of duty; it’s something on the minds of all local emergency crews today following that city’s violent eruption over the weekend, when police and firetrucks were pelted with rocks and shot at during nighttime riots on Aug. 13 and 14.
“With this job, we’re always vigilant; your head’s always on a swivel,” Heibler said, who added SPFD has a “fantastic relationship” with local police and deputies — something he said is only fostered by regular joint training undergone by the departments.
“They don’t call us in unless the police say a scene is secure,” Heibler said. “I’m not worried about it; the other guys here aren’t worried about it. There’s nowhere I wouldn’t go with these cops; I’d go anywhere with those guys.”