ST. PETERSBURG, Florida - An active shooter is typically the last thing most firefighters, paramedics, and emergency medical techniciansthink about when they rush into dangerous situations to try to save lives. But after what happened in Webster, New York on Monday, some local emergency responders areon edge.
Rob Neuberger is a firefighter and paramedic with St. Petersburg Fire Rescue and said, "The vulnerability of having an active shooter on scene, that's a new experience for the fire and EMS side."
Many of Neuberger's colleaguesat the Downtown Master Fire Station in St. Petersburg have heard the chilling call to dispatch that one of the firefighters in New York made in a desperate call for help. The firefighter told the dispatcher, "We are being shot at. Multiple firemen down. Multiple firemen shot. I am shot."
Travis Kantaskas is a firefighter and emergency medical technicianwho saidthe recordingwas touching."Because you could put yourself in that situation and wonder if you could do the same or if you could communicate with dispatch over what was going on," he said.
Neuberger added, "We go to these places thinking that we're going to help people. We don't ever expect to be the victims when we go."
He doesn'tthink bullet proof vests are necessarily the answer either.
"The gear ranges between 67 and 82 pounds. It would make it a little bit more cumbersome because obviously we have our airpacks and everything on top of that anyway, so the bulletproof vest would limit our maneuverability inside our equipment."
Kantaskas said, "We just come here to go to work day by day and do the best that we can."