FAIRFIELD — With active shooter scenarios becoming more common, police departments have had to change and adapt to a new environment. The same is true for firefighters.

The Fairfield Fire Department is in the process of purchasing 23 ballistic vests that will be kept on its apparatus for use by its firefighters. The $13,500 purchase was approved as part of the current budget.

“There are many fire departments going in this direction,” Deputy Fire Chief Kyran Dunn said.

Dunn said police no longer wait outside during active shooter scenes. Instead, he said, they are heading in toward the shooter.

“As the police go in, they’re going toward the hot zone and the shooter,” Dunn said.

Equipped with their own vests, and guarded by police, firefighters can then head into a scene, grab injured people, provide initial medical care and get them outside to safety.

“It’s just a modern evolution of our job,” Dunn said. With the vests on order, he added, firefighters have been doing some additional training. The vests will be marked “FIRE.”

Police Chief Gary MacNamara said the town’s first responders don’t really want to think about those types of incidents, “but we have to be prepared — not only for a law enforcement response — but also to ensure a medical response as soon as the incident allows.”

With so many public and private schools in town, along with two college campuses, police officials said the potential is always there.

MacNamara said there may be times when emergency medical personnel — all of the town’s firefighters are also EMTs — might be put in locations that are “generally” safe, but may expose them to hazards.

“We must ensure that those providing medical attention at a scene do so in a safe manner,” he said.

It is a policy supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security.

According to FEMA policy, “In addition to developing the necessary (law enforcement) capabilities, they must build sufficient public safety resources and capabilities to quickly triage, treat, and evacuate victims located within or near an (active shooter) area.

Providing fire and EMS with proper (ballistic protective equipment), along with the requisite training, directly supports this critical capability.”

greilly@ctpost; @GreillyPost