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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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          The Jerusalem Township Fire Department has updated its equipment that will improve access to the new Howard Marsh Metropark, which opened on April 28. .

        “We as a department have taken some preparation for it,” said Fire Chief Tony Parasiliti.

        Among the equipment that was purchased for the department is an Ultimate Terrain Vehicle (UTV), he said.

        “The Firefighters Association paid for a large portion of this John Deere UTV vehicle. It’s a four wheel drive all-terrain vehicle that is stealthy and lightweight. We bought it with the intent of serving not only the metropark, but also using it for brush fires, and transporting patients in rural areas that are tough to get to. If someone who needed our help was located at a distance in the metropark, we could go out there with the UTV and retrieve the patients and bring them back to our medic unit for further treatment. We can’t necessarily drive our squad out there. The ground wouldn’t take it because it’s so soft. So this will help us gain access.”

        The department also bought a trailer to carry the equipment. Inside the trailer is a 15 - foot flat bottom boat that assists in shallow waters, he added.

       

Challenges

        The new equipment will help the department address some of the challenges it faces with the new metropark, he said.

        “Full access to the metropark has been given to the public. Because of the nature of how far away the trails are, and the fact they are at a great distance from any parking area, the equipment will improve our ability to access anyone who is enjoying themselves in the park but need our help in an emergency. The equipment will get to those areas in an efficient manner. If we need to, we could transport our medic to begin treatment out there and shuttle people in that way. If someone were to have a medical emergency, for instance a heart attack, then we could get our personnel out there to perform CPR,” he said.

       

Other uses

        The equipment will also be used to respond to emergencies at Maumee Bay State Park, he said, particularly for the annual fireworks display held in the summer.

        “We’ll use the UTV to staff EMS personnel to be more mobile with all those vehicles and people out there. It allows for a little bit more agility to move around to get to locations that are more difficult to access due to traffic congestion,” he said. “There are anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 people out there. That provides a challenge. We can move around more freely with the UTV rather than try to maneuver around the traffic with our big squads.”

        The department also provides EMS on bikes to get better access to such locations, he added.

        Other uses of the UTV include assistance in putting out a field fire encroaching onto a home. “This can help us manage the fire. It has fire capabilities on it. It carries 70 gallons of water, and has a fire pump on it.”

        The fire department bought the UTV late last year, and recently purchased the fire pump and tank a couple of weeks ago.

        “Our trailer is on order and we’re waiting for that to come in,” he said.

       

Trained divers

        It is not uncommon for the pay, on call 24-member volunteer firefighters/EMTs to respond to emergencies on the lake, as the township is located along Lake Erie.

        “We cover 265 square miles in the township. Two hundred and thirty square miles of that is on the lake, and 30 square miles is land based. We’re one of the largest townships covered by one fire department,” he said, which also has three paramedics and a doctor on staff.

.       The department uses a hovercraft to rescue people stuck on the ice in the winter.

        “Our people are trained in ice rescue. A hovercraft is one piece of equipment that helps us maneuver on the ice. We also work with mutual aid partners that have airboats. Our UTV will also be used for access to emergencies on the ice.”

        The department is one of just two in the area that have trained divers on staff, he said.

        “We elected to be a water rescue/dive department. We have six divers available. There are not many fire departments that have dive teams available. The only other dive team in the area is the Toledo Fire Department. We also support a good portion of Ottawa County with our dive support as well,” he said.

       

       

 

 

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