DSM Dyneema holds luncheon for EMS workers, shows off protective vest material

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GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) Whenever there's an emergency, EMT's are there, and many times they're called into situations where they, too, are in danger.

But unlike law enforcement, they don't have the tools to protect themselves, so a Pitt County company hopes their product can be used to save their lives.

A sheet that feels like plastic, is actually made of the strongest fibers in the world--called Dyneema--which are made in Greenville at DSM.

When sewn together they can create a protective vest that's as strong as steel, and can stop bullets.

Patrick Smith with DSM Dyneema says, "This would be similar to what would be worn inside the vest, that would provide the ballistic protection. This has been shot multiple times. There was not penetration there, which is the key."

For law enforcement, bullet-proof vests are part of the uniform, but not for EMT's, who are now in just as much danger when responding to a mass shooting, or even a typical rescue call.

Greg Chapman is the Director of the Center for Prehospital Medicine and says EMT's are finding themselves on more and more dangerous calls.

Chapman says, "Two weeks ago there was a shooting in Dallas of a paramedic that got shot and wounded at the scene of a call."

He says, "These situations are becoming more prevalent and we have to start to be proactive with the protection instead of reactive."

So DSM workers wanted to show EMS and EMT workers, ballistic vests made with Dyneema fibers, because they're so lite and lifesaving.

Pitt County EMS Coordinator James Mcarthur says other bullet proof vests can be too cumbersome.

He says, "These things have been around for decades, but it's been extremely heavy and hot uncomfortable, you know to be able to find some of these technologies that makes it light and comfortable, easier to manage, that would help change the mindset of providers."

And change the risks for these responders, who risks their lives, saving others.

This is the first year DSM Dyneema has held an event to not only say thank you to first responders, but to launch an educational program to improve awareness for issues facing EMT's.