QUINCY (WGEM) -- The Adams County Ambulance and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) reported Friday that new ballistic vests have been issued to all Paramedics and EMTs.
Adams County EMS reported that, while uncommon, assaults on Paramedics and EMTs have been on the rise nationwide and Adams County has issued ballistic vests as tools to increase personnel’s safety.
Officials added that over the past 12 months, Adams County EMS crews responded to more than 650 incidents involving an increased threat to medical personnel including assaults, psychiatric, suicidal, overdoses, penetrating trauma, and violent actions including stabbings and gunshots.
“The vest is a protection tool for our paramedics and EMTs so everyone goes home at the end of their shift. It is no different than a helmet or eye-protection” said John Simon EMS Chief for Adams County Ambulance. “It does not change our reliance and partnership with law enforcement to secure the scene”. EMS crews will continue to stage away from active threats until cleared by law enforcement.
Officials reported that the purchase of ballistic vests was made possible thanks to a $30,000 monetary grant provided by the Marion Gardner Jackson Charitable Trust.
According to Adams County EMS, the Marion Gardner Jackson Charitable Trust was established by Marion Gardner Jackson, the granddaughter of local industrialist Robert W. Gardner, founder of the Gardner-Denver Company.
Before her death in 1976, Mrs. Jackson set up a perpetual trust to aid religious, charitable, scientific, literary, and educational organizations.
Preference is given to organizations in Quincy, Illinois, and surrounding communities in Adams County supporting arts, culture, humanities, education, health, and human service.
Officials stated the vests will provide both ballistic and stab protection.