Casco Fire & Rescue acquire ATV

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — A trio of friends leave on two all-terrain vehicles with plans to take the trail system that winds through JugTown. They have a destination in mind, and are expected to be there in a few hours.

They are all experienced drivers, having been raised around ATVs, and armed with the knowledge of how to operate the machines safely.

Despite that, what was planned as a fun afternoon veers off track, and an accident happens.

The crash transpires in a few blinks of an eye. Suddenly, one person is lying motionless in the low-lying brush and another person is pinned beneath the four-wheeler. Luckily the third person is carrying a cell phone, and the 9-1-1 call goes out.

According to Casco Fire Chief Jason Moen, such incidents happen six to eight times a year, and involve ATVs and snowmobiles as well as people riding horses or hiking.

On the backcountry trails, emergency response time is longer because of the difficulty in getting to the injured person.

“Usually, anywhere from 12 to 15 people would respond. They would either hike in or borrow someone’s ATV or snowmobile,” Moen said.

Once the rescue team overcomes the challenge of getting to the scene of an accident, the next hurdle is getting the person or people out safely, and possibly to a waiting ambulance.

Now, the Casco Fire and Rescue Department has an ally.

Another ATV is the perfect tool to aid in those emergencies involving recreational vehicles or hikers.

The newly-acquired ATV is a quad-cab Polaris Ranger 800. Currently, the purchase is sitting in the bay of the Casco Fire Station.

The parts have been ordered, and the machine will be outfitted with a rescue body that attaches to back of ATV, Moen said. The rescue body will enable first responders to carry a backboard for the victim, and will provide enough room for a medic sit alongside and attend to the patient, he said.

The newest addition to the department’s equipment will also be outfitted with tracks in the wintertime, he said. “It’ll have a set of tracks to navigate the snowmobile trails,” Moen said.

Another great thing about the ATV — it will be a real lifesaver on the public’s money.

“No tax dollars were involved in this purchase,” Moen said. It was purchased through donations from Portland Pipe Line Co., The Natural Gas Pipeline, the Hancock Foundation, and the Casco Fire Association, he said. The total project will cost $22,000.

Meanwhile, members of the fire and rescue department will go through a training program.

“We have a couple department members who are involved with Lake Region ATV Club. They are going to be conducting ATV safety classes for us,” Moen said.

“They’ll want to do the safety training before operating” the ATV, he said.

“We are looking forward to getting the ATV out on calls. This project is one we’ve been working on for a while, and it is finally coming to fruition,” he said.


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