By Chris Pickup

The performance of an off-road firefighting and rescue vehicle in Hagersville in 2016, has sparked interest in other Haldimand firefighting associations.

The unit assisted in saving over $25 million dollars of agricultural facilities during a large field fire off 3rd line near Hagersville, fire chief Jason Gallagher told council in committee Tuesday. 

The money to purchase it had been fundraised by the Hagersville firefighters association and the vehicle donated to the county until the end of its useful life (about ten years) at which time it will be returned to the association. Any replacement would be funded by the association.

Caledonia firefighters association have now applied to the county for permission to fundraise to acquire a similar vehicle for Caledonia. The Cayuga firefighters also have permission to purchase a rig but fundraising there is presently stalled.

The remote access vehicle is essentially a modified ATV that has been outfitted with the ability to fight fires using a mini pump and carrying 120 gallons of water. 

It also has the ability to rescue people in remote areas with the addition of a rescue basket, room for medical equipment and seating to transport patients and paramedics out of rugged terrain, and storage areas for transporting firefighting and rescue equipment to deep brush or hunting areas.

The whole rig, including a trailer to transport the unit to and from emergency scenes, is valued at approximately $35,000. The county will fund annual operating costs.

Leroy Bartlett commented that it would be of benefit if someone was injured on a trail in the county’s large trail network. He did say, however that he didn’t see the need at all eleven stations.

It was a no-brainer for council to approve the acquisition 7-0.