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The Lompoc Fire Department has acquired 13 new sets of body armor as part of a range of new ballistic gear that was purchased with federal grant funds, the department announced Monday.

The body armor will be used to protect fire personnel in the event of an active-shooter or other violent situation, according to Lompoc Fire. The other gear purchased with the $21,637 granted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security includes new rope equipment, helmets, a plate carrier and soft trauma protection.

The city of Lompoc’s budget discussions kicked off in earnest Wednesday night as city department heads detailed the ways in which cuts could negatively impact the community, and at least one City Council member called for slashing the salaries of city administrators. Wednesday’s workshop was the City Council’s first full meeting dedicated solely to the city’s 2019-21 biennial budget, which is facing a deficit projected at nearly $4 million. Community members filled the council chambers for the four-hour meeting, which ended in an impasse with council members giving direction for staff to compile further data to present at a future budget meeting.

“It is a sad day that we have to have this type of [body armor] protection, but is imperative that we ensure our personnel are safe, so they can perform their duties and protect the public,” read a portion of a statement from Lompoc Battalion Chief Brian Federmann.

The new rope rescue equipment will replace several old and worn components of the department’s rescue gear, according to Federmann, and will upgrade all first-out response units with “longer reach capabilities, more advanced technology and quicker deployments.”

Lompoc Fire crews already have started using the new equipment.

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