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Fire Departments in Wisconsin Looking into Bullet Proof Vests

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - Firefighters in Madison will soon be wearing bullet-proof vests.

The Madison Fire Department recently bought 90 vests which is enough to cover every firefighter in the department.

It's an idea the La Crosse Fire Department says they've also thought about for their firefighters and EMT's.

La Crosse Chief Gregg Cleveland says they currently work with the police department to assess potentially dangerous situations before they step foot on scene.

"The police do not respond on all medical calls and we're not shy in calling them if the need arrives, but we have been in some pretty scrappy situations and our people have been at risk."

He says the cost of the vests must be balanced with the level of threats in a smaller city like La Crosse.

"It's something that's on the radar screen, it's something that we think about every day, but we need to think in context of La Crosse. It's certainly not out of the possibility that it could happen here, but again, it's something that we monitor."

Chief Cleveland says the fire department will continue its policy of working with the police for the time being.

If they did decide to provide bulletproof vests for their own staff the cost would have to be worked into the fire department's operating budget which Cleveland says is already tight.

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