South Bend Firefighters are sporting some new protective gear Wednesday that could save their lives.
It is all thanks to a combination of grant money from Uncle Sam and local money.
The new bunker gear is made partly of Kevlar, much like what race car drivers wear.
It is the first time in history that South Bend Firefighters have worn leather boots. The old ones were rubber.
A new strap built into the coat allows downed firefighters to be dragged to safety easier.
"This is really 21st century technology that we're taking advantage of. We have the grants from the Federal Government to assist us, but also the local matching dollars,” explains South Bend Mayor Steve Luecke.
A full set of gear, which includes coat, pants, boots and helmet runs more than $1700 each.
The city of South Bend bought the new gear for all 248 firefighters.