The Urbana Fire Division has received up to $350,500 in vehicle and equipment upgrades thanks to local, state and federal funding.
Chief Mark Keller said the city recently approved plans for the fire division to purchase a new $250,000 ambulance.
The new ambulance will replace a used ambulance the fire division purchased years ago that has air brakes that have the potential to be hazardous when transporting patients.
“Air breaks when transporting patients is not good thing. You can barely touch the breaks, it slams the patient up into the cot. It also has caused two slide off accidents. Not with patients in it, but we’ve had a couple close calls with icy roads or slippery roads,” Keller said.
The fire division also recently received a $60,500 grant from the Department of Homeland Security for new rescue tools.
Firefighters received new spreaders, cutters, an air bag system, a new power cot and cribbing, which provide temporary support during rescue operations.
Keller said the new spreaders will help firefighter spread car doors open and the new cutters will help them cut through the metals in cars.
“Our old cutters were not able to cut the stronger metal that is in cars now. so these new cutters have a higher cut strength and will allow us to cut just about anything,” Keller said.
“This is very high quality tools. Actually some of its smaller than what we had before just for weight purposes. The weight distribution is a lot better than it used to be,” Keller said.
Keller said the fire division’s previous air bag system, which is used to lift things up, was more than 20 year old.
The air bag system lifts heavy objects, such as when somebody is pinned underneath a car. The air bag system allows crews to lift a car up and pull the person out from under the car.
The cribbing also secure vehicles while crews are pulling a crash victim from under a car, for example.
Keller said the new tools will be extremely beneficial during rescue operations.
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