Firefighters are often the first to the scene, even before police.

Rick Brewer understands the danger of that. He was the first Dallas firefighter shot in the line of duty.

"He shot me twice. In the center chest and left arm," he said.

Brewer nearly died that day in August of 1983.

"It went between by trachea and aorta, collapsed my left lung, my chest was filled with blood. I could not breath," he recalls.

Brewer says had he been wearing a bulletproof vest, his injuries wouldn't have been so severe.

<p>William An has been with the Dallas Fire-Rescue for more than 10 years.</p>

Last Monday, another firefighter was shot. William An is recovering after being shot twice and almost bleeding to death.

Brewer says it's time for the city to provide Dallas Fire-Rescue crews with ballistic vests and helmets. The president of the Dallas Fire Fighters Association agrees.

"And with the way the world is these days, I think it's time to have bullet proof vests to protect us and gives the option on every situation, on every engine, every ambulance in this city," he said.

After July 7, when five officers were shot and killed in downtown Dallas, the fire department bought 30 vests because firefighters were also in the middle of the ambush.

"We should have the ability to protect ourselves with vests."

It would cost the city about $1.1 million.

"What is the life of a firefighter worth? It's worth it to me."

Firefighters say they want to be able to go in and save lives without having to pay for theirs.