Fairfield Firefighters will soon be equipped with something to shield them not from flames, but from bullets.
The City Council approved between $15,000-$20,000 to purchase 30 of the vests for every fire engine in the city.
"Twenty thousand dollars. That's a good amount of money. And that can be used for the town," resident Chris Owen said. "I don't see why we need bullet proof vests for firefighters."
Fairfield Fire Chief Tony Velasquez told FOX40 the decision to buy the vests wasn't prompted by any one incident, though the city has seen its share of violence.
"We started off last year with some shootings. There was a lot of shootings in a short time," Velasquez said.
Velasquez says he wants to prevent his firefighters from being shot.
Thirty years ago, the only Fairfield officer to be shot to death was finally rescued when firefighters used their engine while spraying water to get in between a man armed with a high-powered rifle inside his home and the officer. It took more than a half hour.
Now, firefighters will put the vests on when responding to shooting calls or before entering areas known to have a high crime rate.
"It's terrible that it's necessary," longtime resident Jack Martin said. "But, I think it's a great thing."