Fire isn't the only threat: Colorado firefighters now vulnerable to terrorist threats

Posted at 9:38 PM, Jul 13, 2017

DENVER -- The men and women who protect us every day are finding themselves vulnerable to terrorist threats from attackers both at home and abroad.

The threats are so serious, firefighters including Denver and West Metro now carry body armor on their trucks, just in case they are attacked.

“Our risk has gone way up. It's not just fires anymore," said Bob Olme, an assistant chief with West Metro. "We still protect ourselves from flames, but you know it's different. Protective equipment for different jobs."

Investigators are discovering that firefighters and paramedics are having to deal with booby traps following terror attacks, such as ISIS-inspired mass shootings like the ones in Orlando and San Bernardino. That's in addition to online threats from domestic and international terrorists.  

Threats so serious that Colorado's Homeland Security Chief has alerted local departments of new dangers two to three times a year.

"Sometimes we'll tell them, you know, you got to trust us on this. But we want you to look at A, B and C and I can't tell you why," said Colorado Homeland Security director Kevin Klein. 

These are complicated crimes to prevent. Some of the threats don't even originate here but rather overseas.

"The hope is that the information we do provide is going to help fire and EMS to pre-plan," said analyst Eric Dymond.

Pre-planning now, to prevent a disaster later.

"We just need to change and continue to evolve as we have been so we can continue to provide for as many circumstances as we're going to come across," said Olme.

There is a roll you can play. If you see something online targeting first responders --  something that seems threatening or unusual, contact police or you use this link.