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IWK hospital seeks bulletproof vests

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The children’s hospital for the Maritimes is buying vests to protect security guards from gunshots and knifings.

The children’s hospital for the Maritimes is buying vests to protect security guards from gunshots and knifings.

The IWK Health Centre has issued a tender for a supplier for 35 bulletproof and slash-proof vests.

Jocelyn Vine, vice-president of patient care, said security guards often have to face agitated family members during emotionally difficult times.

“One of the main focuses for us is to make sure that our staff have the equipment they need to do their jobs well and safely,” she said Thursday.

Vine said the purchase was under consideration long before a shooting in the parking lot last November.

A man was injured when he was struck with a single bullet on Nov. 18, 2008. Police said the shooting was connected to one in Spryfield a day earlier, part of an ongoing drug war in the area.

Dan Sawler, whose company sells bulletproof vests to police and private security companies in Halifax, said he’s not surprised the IWK wants them.

“I’ve met a few of the guards before from the IWK and I know that they’ve had threats before,” said Sawler, owner of Viking Police and Security Co. in Dartmouth.

“More of the security industry is going to vests all of the time. There’s more crime with knives, bottles, glasses,” he added.

The vests are expected to cost around $20,000 and be delivered early in the new year. The money will come out of the hospital’s one budget.

Vine said a few security guards have already tested out the vests, and there were no comments from the public.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

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