Fond du Lac Fire Department tests out new rescue boats
FOND DU LAC - The Fond du Lac Fire Department just got two new rescue boats and TODAY’S TMJ4 actually got to be a part of their training Wednesday. TODAY’S TMJ4’s Jesse Ritka dove into Lake Winnebago to play the “damsel in distress.”
“We need to keep up on this stuff, if you don’t use it, you forget. The training is vital,” Fond du Lac Fire Department Captain Erick Gerritson tells Ritka. And learning how to maneuver the new, life-saving equipment is essential when someone is in distress.
But a real rescue like the training exercise carried out today wouldn't have been as fast earlier this year Gerritson explains, “It would take us quite a long time to get the boat together if we needed a rescue, which would be a delayed response where this boat now, we have it all together, two boats on one trailer can quickly be deployed and we can make the rescue efficiently.”
The $24,000 worth of new equipment was needed since their old rescue boat was more than twenty years old and the motor was shared and stored at the police department. Rescuers say the difference is night and day.
The Fire Department bought the two new boats, motors and trailer for roughly half the price of the original cost thanks to a government discount and the added bonus of having Mercury Marine as a neighbor, helping to keep their budget afloat. “We have really low pricing on our government contracts and then we try dropping that as low as we can for the local guys," Mercury Marine Vice President of Communications explains.
The new boats have space to hold booms that can be deployed during hazardous material spills, but the extra room also helps in rescue situations, emergency crews explain, "If someone had a neck injury or something, we could long board the patient on, strap her down in here and then get them to the rescue squad, so it's a lot better."
A non-sinking solution the Fond du Lac Fire Department believes will increase response time and a create a safer rescue scenario for the community.