A surge in recent City of Antioch shootings, including a firefighter and EMS employee being shot, has prompted the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District to review its ballistic vest policy.
While its unclear if the policy will be Antioch specific, geographic specific or incident specific, the policy is sitll under review according to spokesperson Steve Hill after Fire Chief Lewis T. Broschard III comments during the March 9 Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Board of Directors Meeting.
During the meeting, Chief Broschard addressed the February 20 drive-by shooting in the city of Antioch which struck a firefighter and an EMS employee.
He also addressed that due to recent shootings, they are now reviewing their policy on when and where personnel are to wear their ballistic vests given the recent shootings in Antioch.
Antioch Shootings (8 known incidents)
- 3/14 – Antioch Police Investigating Saturday Night Shooting on D Street
- 3/9 – Updated: Two Shot During Drive-By Shooting in Antioch
- 3/4 – Antioch Police Investigate Shooting on W 7th Street
- 2/27 – Updated: Antioch Police Investigating Saturday Shooting
- 2/25 – Updated: 18-Year-Old Shows Up at Local Antioch Hospital With Gunshot Wound
- 2/24 – Antioch: Woman Struck Twice by Gunfire on W 20th Street
- 2/24 – UPDATED: Two Arrested After Armed Robbery and Shooting at Antioch Target
- 2/20 – Discovery Bay: Sheriff’s Office Arrests Homicide Suspect in Multiple Shooting Incident
Broschard stated the call was a “routine EMS call” for them, but the events after were unpredictable as there was no warning and no connection with alleged shooter and victim at the scene.
“I do want to highlight the fact we are working through the after-action review process,” stated Broschard who called this a major event. “Not the typical major event that we deal with, but cover all the basis and that we identify where things went well or where things could use some improvement to work to solidify policy and procedure.”
He highlighted he was overall very proud of the District response to this incident and everything from the captain at the scene to the battalion chief responding in calling for two helicopters.
“Everything was put in motion to really treat and transport those members of the organization that were involved,” explained Broschard who noted others were called in to provide relief and backfill stations. “We also organized and provided a critical incident stress management defusing at 2 in the morning with 30 personnel that lasted for 2-hours.”
The chief highlighted to the Board of Supervisors/Fire Board how last year, they purchased protective equipment for all of their crews—fire engines, ambulances, chiefs all have access to ballistic vests and protection which includes policy of when they should be wearing them.
Given the recent spike in shootings and the February 20 shooting, they are now reviewing their policy.
“This incident was not an incident where our crews would be prompted to wear ballistic protection, it was a rather routine EMS call. But we will be reviewing that in light of this incident and incidents that have occurred within Antioch in the following subsequent days involving shootings,” explained Broschard. “This has heightened our sense of awareness in need to make sure we are doing everything we can to put appropriate protocols in place as well as ensuring use the ballistic protection in any case where we think we need to.”
Supervisor Diane Burgis thanked the chief for his communication throughout this incident while also providing credit to the Antioch Police Department for quick police work.
Broschard reported that the transport medic has already returned back to work and the firefighter is still recuperating and will return soon.
“I want to thank you all for your support and we hope this is a once in a lifetime event that we don’t have to repeat,” stated Broschard.
According to CONFIRE spokesperson Steve Hill, he says the ballistic protection guidelines provide for protection include: potentially violent incidents of any kind, when requested by law enforcement to stage outside the immediate incident area or at company officer discretion.
He quickly pointed, however, incidents like what occurred on February 20 was all but impossible to predict.
“Protection of our crews is our number one priority, however, and we are conducting an after-action review to determine any adjustments to the existing practice that may be warranted. That review is ongoing,” said Hill.