The FFR have kindly been donated five sets of bulletproof jackets from Safeguard Armour for members use. For information on how to borrow the jackets, please email: email@example.com. Members are also entitled to certain discounts on protective gear.
What is it and why does it matter?
This is probably self-explanatory. This is protective gear, which covers your vital organs in your torso and a helmet to protect your head. Yes, this can be expensive. But ballistic vests/body armour/flak jackets AND a helmet can save your life!
Remember, protective gear does NOT take the place of good planning and the risk assessment! And, clearly, the best protection is to steer clear of specific areas where bullets are being fired.
But, if you know you will be coming face to face with a situation that will require you to wear PPE, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Weapons and ammunition:
- Type and style of weapons that could potentially be used?
- Type, style and velocity of ammunition used?
- Quality of product:
- What standard is the vest tested to?
- With whom?
- Is it trustworthy?
- Is the manufacturer recognised / accredited by a professional body?
- Vest logistics:
- What is its weight?
- Am I fit and strong enough to wear it for prolonged periods of time in a hot country under duress?
- How do I care for it? (Come rain or high water)
- What size do I need?
- Female versus male plates?
You should also consider your budget about when you might need to replace the vest, and/or the plates. They will often stop up to two rounds, after which they will begin to break up.
What types of vests are there?
There are two main types
- soft vests – made with many layers of woven or laminated fibres. These can protect from small handgun shots and shotgun projectiles and small fragments from explosives. It’s also add extra layers to protect from knife attacks and from shrapnel etc..
- soft vests with plates – this is a soft vest with plates usually made from ceramic or polyethylene. They are placed into the pockets of the vest and can protect from rifle rounds. They can also include a groin protector. You should wear the plates with the vest for which they were designed as they are made to absorb the high-energy impact.
You must be careful that the plates aren’t dropped or they may crack and no longer protect you as well. As such do not throw them around! The side labelled strike face must face away from your body, i.e. towards the potential source of the strike.
When do I use one versus the other?
Soft vests are easier to hide, so often worn for undercover work or during riots.
Make sure you wear a helmet to protect your head. Helmets will not stop bullets but could deflect them enough to protect you.
For more information on body armour and what is best for you, take a read of SafeGuard’s Journalist Safety Pack HERE.
Vests can cost from £800 to £1,500.
The FFR has kindly been donated five sets of bulletproff jackets from Safeguard Armour. For information on how to borrow the jackets, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
RSF will lend you bulletproof jackets, helmets and personal distress beacons – http://en.rsf.org/loan-of-bulletproof-jackets-17-04-2007,21747.html
Where Can I buy PPE from?
Further, here are some websites where PPE can be purchased: