When it comes to an emergency, time can mean the difference between life and death.
Now, thanks to a generous donation, the Arlington Fire Department will bring life-saving assistance even faster.
The Arlington Fire Department purchased a 2012 Polaris 800 HD utility task vehicle (UTV) last year with a MedLite transporter and all season Mattracks.
Dan Mulhern, Second Lieutenant in the Arlington Fire Department, said with the trailer, all the equipment cost $25,000-$30,000.
Mulhern said the purchase was possible with a sizeable donation from the Arlington Prairie Drifters Snowmobile Club and 2 percent money received by the state. He said no tax dollars were used toward the purchase.
Mulhern said the new skid, paired with the UTV (which has all-terrain tracks instead of wheels) allows first responders to provide emergency aid in off-road conditions.
“We can use it to go pretty much anywhere, snow and marshes,” Mulhern said. “We can go just about anywhere with it and get just about anybody. Whether it’s a hunter in the woods or even if something happens to a farmer in a muddy field.”
Mulhern said several years ago the snowmobile club also donated a sleigh that could be pulled behind a snowmobile.
However, many modern snowmobiles don’t have the required hitch and/or bumper to use the sleigh. Without the UTV, getting help to stranded or injured individuals in snowy conditions was difficult.
When the UTV was purchased, the department planned to buy the rescue skid when funds were available. Mulhern said the fire department is thankful to the local club for providing the funds to purchase the rescue unit.
“Without their help, we wouldn’t have been able to do this as speedy as we have,” he said. “Hopefully we never need to use it, but if the situation arises we’ll be able to respond.”
Mulhern said area fire departments have been notified of the new rescue unit and the Arlington Fire Department can assist with mutual aid when needed.
The rescue skid can carry one patient and comes equipped with a seat for an EMT and a retractable pole for an IV bag. In a multiple patient scenario, Mulhern said the pull-behind sleigh could be used in conjunction with the skid to carry up to two patients and five emergency responders.