Public and private schools in Union County are being offered a new safety tool Thursday, but with the hope that it’s never needed.

County Prosecutor Dave Phillips has purchased 25 ballistic shields designed to protect against a school shooter.

“It's like a fire extinguisher. All the schools have fire extinguishers,” Phillip said. “You hope there's never a fire there that you have to put out. This is a product that, frankly, we never have to use.”

The “Emergency Response Shields” are designed to hang on a wall and are manufactured by Maryland-based Hardwire LLC., which builds armor for the United States military.

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