Rescue squad launches ‘floating ambulance’
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Morgan County Rescue Squad is now equipped to step up its rescue operations on the Tennessee River thanks to the recent purchase of a new 27-ft. SeaArk boat. The watercraft is powered by twin 225 hp E-Tec engines. It has the capacity to travel at speeds up to 50 mph and has a cabin that will accommodate six persons.
The boat also provides fire protection on the water and is equipped to facilitate the work of divers. It has a fire pump capable of pumping 725 gallons of water per minute onto a boat fire or a fire near the shoreline. It is also capable of spraying foam if needed.
The boat is also outfitted with a two-person diving station, where everything is set up and ready to go. All the divers have to do is sit down on the seat, strap on their gear and they are ready to hit the water.
A removable dive door on the port side allows divers to get in and out of the water easily and is also wide enough to allow a victim to be brought on board while being strapped to a backboard.
Mason said the boat’s climate controlled cabin will be a big benefit to rescue volunteers who often are required to work under extreme weather conditions.
The boat will cost the rescue squad $180,000. Annual payments are $22,000 each.
The rescue squad is an all-volunteer organization with about 40 members. Its coverage area on the Tennessee River is about 37 miles of shoreline. It receives some financial support from the Morgan County Commission, City of Decatur and United Way of Morgan County. However, most of its operating revenue comes from fundraisers and private donations.
The rescue squad is a non-profit organization and donations to it are tax-deductible. Donations may be mailed to MCRS, P.O. Box 1762, Decatur, AL 35602.