For the past 10 years, Emergency Medical Technician Darin Johnson has worn a bulletproof vest to work nearly every day, a rarity among local paramedics and EMTs.

That is about to change as UCHealth implements a new policy aimed at protecting a group of employees who face an increasing level of risk on the job.

UCHealth is joining the growing ranks of hospitals across the country that are outfitting EMTs and paramedics with bulletproof vests. The industry shift comes amid increased high-profile hostility toward first responders, including Monday's incident in which a gunman shot a Dallas paramedic treating a gunshot wound victim.

"For a long time, its been one of those things we know," Johnson said. "Safety concerns linger on every call that we go to. ... And there is a changing climate toward first responders. We have for too long been reactive to these types of things."

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