CARMEL, Ind. -- Most of us think only police officers need to wear bullet proof vests when they respond to a dangerous scene. Now, firefighters in Carmel are putting them on.
On Tuesday, the city's firefighters and police officers ran active shooter training exercises together. Firefighters originally were taught to wait outside a building until everything was completely safe. Now, paramedics and EMTs in Carmel are running into danger wearing tactical gear hoping to save more lives.
"We need to be prepared to put ourselves at a greater risk," said Tim Fagin, a firefighter and paramedic in Carmel.
Fagin and his crew with the Carmel Fire Department are learning to run into buildings, even if the shooter is not down or in custody.
"Columbine really changed that school of thought," he said. "There were a lot of people who were injured. They did not get treatment very quickly and unfortunately, they ended up perishing as a result."
Gunshot victims can bleed out waiting for help. Getting the paramedics in faster saves minutes and lives.
Officers will go in first and then they bring in paramedics when they think it is safe.
"This is something you hope never happens around the city you work in and live in, but it could happen," said Lieutenant Joe Bickel with Carmel police.
Unfortunately, it did happen just 20 minutes away in Noblesville.
"Times are changing, and we have to be prepared for every situation, and this is one of them," said EMT Grant Russel.
Now, there are bullet proof vests on every ambulance and fire truck in Carmel. The fire department acquired the vests about 2 years ago through a grant.
Russel said the risk of running into that scene is necessary to save lives.
"We have to trust the police. They are doing their job," said Russel.
They do this type of training several times a year. Carmel firefighters will continue the exercises through the rest of the week.