- Associated Press - Friday, July 11, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Body armor being received by Clark County fire departments can withstand rifle shots and help emergency responders treat victims of mass shootings even before police stop the gunman, officials said.

A grant from the Department of Homeland Security is helping buy 466 sets of the armor and helmets to be used by agencies in unincorporated Clark County, as well as in the cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City and Mesquite.

Clark County is the first in the country to receive the equipment through the grant, officials said.

Existing protocol calls for firefighters to wait until police have cleared an area before moving in to help the victims of an attack. Flaws in that policy have emerged during mass shootings.

“One of the major things was the amount of time it took to get triage or rescue to those survivors or potential survivors,” Clark County School District Police Capt. Ken Young told KVVU-TV.

The U.S. Fire Administration and others have called for bulletproof equipment that would allow firefighters to respond sooner.

“Our whole goal is to get in quickly and go ahead and treat the injured,” said Capt. Evan Hannah of the Clark County Fire Department, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “It’s a paradigm shift for all of us. … We’ve never gone into situations like this before so it’s definitely a learning curve.”

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