Northwest EMS in Lancaster County looking to invest in ballistic vests


    For members of Northwest EMS in Lancaster County, times are changing.

    "Not too long ago I was dispatched to a call for difficulty breathing. I arrived on scene and the gentleman answered the door with a gun in his hand," Paramedic Supervisor Michelle Shaffer said.

    Shaffer describes a moment she never thought she'd see as a paramedic, the moment where her life was in danger.

    "You just never know where that bullet may fly and you could end up in its way," she said.

    After members of their staff were injured on the job, Northwest EMS launched their 'inVEST in EMS' campaign with the hopes of equipping all of their personnel with a ballistic vest.

    That's when Michelle got a call from New Jersey Shell Castings, a business in her hometown of Marietta.

    “When they called me and told me they’d like to sponsor me, I almost came to tears because it was so humbling that they care that much about me to invest in my safety," she said.

    “To have someone specifically pick out what they’re calling a hometown hero and wanting to protect that person, that’s very humbling," Northwest EMS Community Outreach Manager Lori Shenk said.

    New Jersey Shell Castings picked up the check for Michelle's vest.

    Each one of those vests costs around $500.

    "It is a level of protection that protects them from either a ballistic device or from even from a blade or some other assault. It gives the vital organs of your body and extra layer of protection," Shenk said.

    While Michelle says she was hesitant to wear one at first, she says the ever changing world has changed her.

    “I wear it on every call. If I leave the building, I’ll have the vest on because just because you think you’re in a safe situation it could turn out to be," she said.

    Northwest EMS has raised almost $10,000 towards their $30,000 goal.

    To donate, you can visit their GoFundMe page or contact them to drop off a check.

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