ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – Ryan Runkel, a paramedic supervisor at Northwest EMS, recently bought a bulletproof vest for work.
“Incidents of violence against EMS providers are on the rise,” he said.
Runkel purchased the vest with his own money and now, it’s part of his uniform.
“It adds a level of comfort in the back of my mind,” he said.
Northwest EMS administrators said in the past year and a half, three paramedics have had to take time off because they were attacked by a patient.
The EMS provider is trying to be the first in Lancaster County to put all 80 of its paramedics in the vests.
Lori Shenk, the community outreach manager for Northwest EMS, said the vests aren’t cheap; they cost $500 a piece.
Shenk said instead of waiting on next year’s budget, they’re trying to fundraise to get the vests now.
“Every day we’re responding to these incidents with the police department and we train on how to respond to those, and we have to have the protective gear to do so,” she said.
Northwest EMS administrators are hoping to raise $30,000.