CATALDO — From search and rescue operations in the winter to wildfires in the summers, the volunteers of the Prichard-Murray Fire Department often find themselves being the first responders to a situation.
Depending on the location, the closest source of backup could be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour away. Because of this, it is vital that PMFD has the tools necessary to respond.
Acquired through the Federal Excess Personal Property program and the Firefighter Property program, the department recently received a 2012 Polaris Rzr 800 UTV.
The repurposed UTV (from military to civilian use) will be a great addition to the department, as the area they cover is largely wilderness.
“This is Prichard-Murray,” PMFD Training Officer Frank Gabriel said,” so we have a lot of off-road obstacles that normal firetrucks can’t get around.”
Idaho Department of Lands Fire Warden Kjell Truesdell and his team have been working with the Department of Defense for roughly three years to get PMFD this vehicle and once it finally came, his crew got right to work on it.
“Ty Groth, Chris Myers and Jim Myers did all the work,” Truesdell said. “They went through the engine, did all the fluids and did the paint job on it.”
A spiffy new paint job is just the tip of the iceberg concerning the features this UTV has.
Currently, Gabriel explained, the 4-seat Rzr sports a front towing winch and a short utility bed to haul anything from gear and water to an injured individual.
“The reason we wanted this was so that in the winter time we could have a rapid response,” he said. “We can go by ourself and carry four people.”
“We’ll have the stokes (stretcher) in the back, we’ll have our jump kits in the back. Then also use it in the summer time for quick response for wildland fires,” he added.
For wildfire response, the vehicle can carry four firefighters, 600 feet of hose, a 70 gallon water tank and a small pump with no trouble.
In the future, PMFD plans to raise the funds and purchase tracks for better handling in the winter.
With the UTV now on the way up to its new home at the Prichard-Muarry Firehouse, Gabriel was sure to thank Truesdell for all his hard work.
“We’ve been talking for a few years on this and he never let up. We thank him a lot.”
PMFD is accepting donations to buy the tracks or asking breaks in pricing from sellers.
Donations can be sent by mail to 21109 Coeur d’Alene River Road, Wallace, Idaho 83873.
The Firehouse can be reached at 208-682-3952.