WELLINGTON – Wellington firefighters will be able to respond quicker and more efficiently to calls that come in from the Island’s various trail systems and other outdoor locations.
“As a fire department we’ve always had a limited budget, so it’s been a matter of prioritizing wants and needs.
“Last year after a mock rescue exercise that we ran in partnership with the Evangeline ATV Club. We noticed we didn’t have the equipment to rescue someone in a rural area. Rather the rescue would require our members lugging a stretcher and then carrying them back,” explained the fire department’s president, Desmond Arsenault.
On Tuesday the department accepted a rescue trailer from the Evangeline ATV Club that will allow them to attend to calls on various Island trails and rural areas. The trailer can be hitched to an ATV or a truck.
The cub fundraised and garnered support from local businesses to help pay and build the trailer.
Over recent years, the Island has seen the ATV sport grow in popularity. And with the grower number of riders, came the creation of new ATV and side-by-side vehicle trails.
“It comes down the to the sport’s increasing popularity. And as first responders we want to be able to assist any one. But if we can’t get to them, then we can’t help. This will allow us to respond in farther reaching areas.”
He added, “So if there’s a time we get a call that needs the trailer, we’ll take it out with one of the trucks and meet some of the club’s ATV riders if they are available, and they’ll drive the trailer out and some of our crew to attend the scene.”
Arsenault says it’s a tool all Island fire departments should invest in.
“Anything can happen to anyone, anywhere. And without an appliance like this it can become harder to attend to scenes. And what makes this even greater is that it’s been a real community collaboration to make this happen.”
JP Gallant, president of the Evangeline ATV Club, agreed.
“It’s something we’ve all talked about for about a year-and-a-half. And although we haven’t had an accident that would require this tool, I’m sure one of these days we might.”
He explained, “what if someone was cutting wood out on their lot or are out for a run and fell and broke an ankle one kilometer from the road, the trailer will allow firefighters or paramedics to help.”
The trailer is the only of its kind on the Island and was a custom build.
“It’s been tweaked for the perfect design. It’s high enough to clear any tree stumps and can hand rough and soft terrains. We worked with the fire department as well as other ATV clubs in New Brunswick to help with the design.”
In 2017, the Evangeline ATV Club sold 147 passes to ATV trails. Since January 2018, they’ve sold 262.
“Clearly the community of riders is growing,” Gallant concluded.
Arsenault added, “This is a great, great asset to us.”