STILLWATER, MN – The Stillwater Fire Department has updated technology to better equip them for responding to emergencies.
It’s a new fire rescue boat to help with situations on the St. Croix River.
Stillwater Fire says during the weekends especially, there could be upwards of 10,000 people on the river. The department believes that if and when something goes wrong on the water, this boat will allow crews to do even more.
“It took about 18 months to build,” Stillwater Fire Chief Stuart Glaser said.
Glaser says they typically deploy a boat like this once a week for a variety of situations.
“A stranded boater, or a medical situation on an island, or somebody accidentally fell off the bluffs,” Glaser said.
The Stillwater Fire Department says this boat can do things that their previous boat couldn’t.
“We can actually get right up to the shoreline with it, and previously we’d have to stop, we’d have to jump out of the boat, literally trudge through the water to get up on the island,” Glaser said.
“For us having a boat to be able to get anywhere on the river is crucial for us,” Stillwater Deputy Fire Chief Tom Ballis said.
Ballis says they also have more advanced cameras onboard.
“We’re able to use that Fleer camera to not only pick up a visual image but also an infrared image,” Ballis said.
Plus, this boat has the ability to take river water right below them to fight fires.
“The water comes straight up here and out this electronic nozzle,” Glaser said.
As more and more boaters hit the water this year, this crew feels confident knowing they’re equipped to respond when they get the call.
“Hopefully, make a lot more rescues and saves with this piece of equipment,” Glaser said.
Stillwater Fire says other communities down the river will benefit as well, and they will use this boat for mutual aid calls when they’re needed.
JESSAMINE COUNTY, KY – With Memorial Day fast approaching, safety is at the top of mind for Kentucky law enforcement agencies. And the Jessamine County Fire District is expanding its coverage on the water this summer.
In early May, the district announced the purchase of a new rescue boat, an upgrade that is nearly 40 years in the making, one they hope will save lives.
“Our past boat was a 1980s model boat that we used for many, many years and it’s time to upgrade and fortunately enough, we had enough support through the fiscal court to purchase this 20-foot newer style boat,” said Chief Danny Eades.
Upgraded sonar technology, a top speed of 40 miles per hour, and the ability to hold heavier gear plus more people are just some of the features that will make the roughly $100,000 “Marine 1” a game changer for saving lives this summer.
“We’re not here for law enforcement,” explained Major Chris Campbell. “We’re here to do the mission of rescue, recovery, or whatever evacuation that we need to do with this boat. And it’s there to help the citizens and in our partners in emergency services.”
Though long overdue, Campbell admitted there will be some challenges that come along with the change.
“It’s a lot bigger than the old ones,” Campbell said. “Right now, there’s only a couple of us that worry about, you know, putting aside the drive and getting it to the river. The more of a challenge, just those small roads, it’s a larger boat. But, those are things that, you know, those are overcome with training, mitigate those hazards so as we get more people trained on this in the hours in, it’ll be it’ll be more accessible.”
But those challenges haven’t stopped them from preparing for a busy rescue season ahead.
“Last couple of weeks, we’ve been on the river constantly plotting where all the hazards are, where all the boat ramps are, where the bridges, all kinds of landmarks that we can use for navigation,” described Frank Ruggiero.
And that service stretches far beyond the borders of their community.
“Any time a neighbor is in need, we’re more than willing to go to their need and assist with that,” Eades proclaimed. “We assisted in eastern Kentucky so anytime, anywhere, we will be there.”
In addition to the upgraded technology, Marine 1 offers the capability to fit a small four-wheeler on board to help conduct rescues in hard-to-reach areas, and its added space will allow EMTs to provide immediate medical care while in transport on the water.
Eades said none of it would be possible without the support of the county government.
OLD FORGE, N.Y. — The Old Forge Fire Department is pretty excited about their new Fire Boat. Before now Chief Chris Stanley says they’ve been using a converted 1963 house boat that’s seen better days.
“Over the years things saw wear and tear, and you know things started to rot out, and we started to have a lot of mechanical issues and everything, and it just started to become a money pit,” Stanley said.
Firefighters are now getting trained on how the new equipment operates. One of the major benefits of this new boat is that it comes with a built in pump that allows for an endless supply of water. Old Forge Fire Department Lt. Richard Mathy explains the additional benefits of being able to boat right up to a structure and pump water right from the lake.
“There are a lot of camps on the water that driveways are very difficult to get a large truck down. Now we can just get a boat there immediately and start getting water on the fire right away,” he said.
The new boat is three times faster than the old boat shortening response times considerably.
“And it’s a lot easier to get people into this than it was the old boat,” Mathy added.
That’s because the front of the boat opens up allowing for easy access in and out of the water. It comes in especially handy for the Dive Team, something many fire departments don’t have.
“We are a very unique area. We have a lot of diverse needs.”
Old Forge Fire Department Chief Chris Stanley says the need for these services increased in Old Forge when social distancing requirements went on the rise.
“Water activities are definitely picking up. I mean COVID things were crazy up here. I mean there was more boats than we’ve ever seen on the water.”
The dive team generally has about a one hour window where they can resuscitate a drowning victim, but Lt. Mathy says finding them is their biggest challenge.
“You can get to areas where you don’t see anything until you’re about 2 feet above the surface of the bottom of the lake, and if you hit the bottom of the lake you’re immediately covered in dust and debris,” he said.
With response times dramatically cut the Chief says the community isn’t questioning the return on this $150 thousand investment, “I can’t ever remember the town being this excited for the fire department to have a piece of equipment.”
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Gjoa Haven is a long way from Parry Sound, Ontario – home of Stanley Aluminum Boats, but that’s where Stanley’s latest Rescue vessel has gone into service.
Gjoa Haven is a hamlet in Nunavut, above the Arctic Circle. It is the only settlement on King William Island, very far north of Hudson Bay.
The new launch is a 26’ Search and Rescue vessel operated by the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary as SAR #538, a primary response unit. Stanleys are all-weather multi-mission boats designed for safe handling and low maintenance, and this one will be put to the test where average temperatures only go above freezing four months in a year. However, Gjoa Haven enjoys constant 24-hour sunshine from May 22 to July 21, which is when the local waters can be very active.
SAR #538 is powered by twin YAMAHA 150 hp outboards, delivering speeds in the 45 mph range. It handles and rides well, even in cold chop with typical wind gusts and rain.
Converging marine technologies are being incorporated into exciting new boats by Stanley designers and engineers who are offering practical solutions in the Caribbean and beyond.
According to company president, Bill Connor, “The region’s challenges are increasing, but they can be met by all-weather multi-purpose vessels.”
The Troy (NY) Fire Department is responding to incidents on and along the upper Hudson River with its new Stanley 32-foot high-speed fire-rescue boat.
Stanley Boats, a division of Connor Industries, in Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada, is a builder of aluminum fire and rescue boats. Doug Coupar is the company representative for the United States and the Caribbean.
“The market in North America consists of three broad categories,” Coupar said. “We have boats that are dedicated firefighting vessels. Then we have combination fire and rescue boats. And there’s a strong emerging market for rescue boats, pure and simple.”
Coupar said boats come in a variety of lengths and sizes with a variety of missions, including specialty boats used by search and rescue teams as well as police responders.
CMP wanted to find a solution for oil spill response that would be quick and easy to deploy in an emergency. It was also important to the customer that oil spill response equipment would be able to deal with heavy and light oils, even diesel.