TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A fire department in Washington state will start using ballistic vests and tactical helmets to better protect its firefighters and paramedics.

The News Tribune reports East Pierce Fire & Rescue's board of commissioners approved spending $76,000 on the vests and helmets last week. The gear is expected to arrive within two months.

The agency is the state's latest fire department to order the body armor. Tacoma Fire has used the ballistic vests since the 1990s and West Pierce Fire & Rescue ordered them in 2013.

East Pierce Fire Chief Bud Backer says getting the new gear was a matter of firefighter safety and will help crews be able to render aid quickly to people in need.

He says firefighters will use the equipment in training with law enforcement.

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