Most firefighters don't pack heat; should they? - FOX Carolina 21

Most firefighters don't pack heat; should they?

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Most firefighters don't pack heat, should they? (Sept. 30, 2016) Most firefighters don't pack heat, should they? (Sept. 30, 2016)

When a call goes out sometimes firefighters are first on a scene - even in violent situations.

"The firefighter in Townville acted above and beyond what was required of him and he is certainly a hero," Boiling Springs Fire District Chief Steve Graham said. "We're very mindful and very protective of our relationship with the local community."

He's also the vice president of the South Carolina Association of Fire Chiefs.

"There have been several instances where there's been conversations on a state level as to whether firefighters should be allowed to carry weapons or not.
and obviously that would require a change to state law," Graham said.

Investigators say Jamie Brock, a firefighter, took down a 14-year-old shooter at Townville Elementary. And because of state law, most firefighters and paramedics aren't armed.

"There are training issues, there are legal challenges, there is maintaining control of weapons," Graham said. "There are also a few departments around the state that are what we call public safety organizations where those personnel function as both law enforcement and fire. So they're carrying weapons- Aiken City is a good example of that.'

Graham believes communication and more training with law enforcement would help keep the community safe.

"You wouldn't want to be carrying a gun into a fire where you have a high heat environment with the possibility of that weapon discharging due to the heat," Graham said. "Firefighters are typically there working as medics in some situations and they're focused on patient care it becomes a challenge to maintain control of the weapon."

Firefighters say some fire marshals throughout the state carry guns because of their work duties. Graham says there are talks about firefighters soon participating in active shooter training with law enforcement.

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