Millinocket Fire Department
- Emergency services for snowmobile accidents in the
Katahdin area took a step forward on the evening of January 9th. Acting Fire
Chief for the Millinocket Fire Department Wayne Campbell accepted a new Rescue Boggan that will provide emergency transportation for people injured in a
snowmobile accident. The rescue sled was donated to the Millinocket Fire
Department from the Northern Timber Cruisers Snowmobile Club and the Pioneer
Hose Company. Campbell took possession of the new rescue boggan on behalf of
Millinocket from Jim Moore, president of the Northern Timber Cruisers and Larry
MacArthur, president of the Pioneer Hose Company during the 345th executive
directors meeting of the Maine Snowmobile Association. The meeting was held at
the Northern Timber Cruisers snowmobile clubhouse. The rescue boggan was
purchased through the Maine Snowmobile Association with funding from these two
As the snowmobiling season approached the area and with continuing budget
limitations in mind, acting Chief Campbell needed to find a way to improve upon
emergency rescue services for snowmobile accidents in the area without having
the necessary funding available. Campbell knew that with more and more people
coming to take advantage of snowmobiling in the Katahdin area that the influx of
machines on the trails means the likeliness of more snowmobile accidents is
evident. An accident involving multiple machines means multiple patients.
Although already in possession of a rescue sled donated many years ago by
snowmobile enthusiast Bob Robinson, new technology has produced equipment that
is more advanced and more flexible to use. Robinson donated a sled years ago
that he had specially made for the town after a wintertime rescue attempt of a
young boy drew attention to the fact such a sled was needed in the area.
Acknowledging that there was no money available in his budget for the purchase
of this type of equipment, Campbell applied for funding under a 50/50 program to
purchase the rescue boggen from MSA that would have cut the $820.00 total cost
of the sled in half. The Northern Timber Cruisers, upon learning of the
purchase, agreed to pay for the remaining portion of the sled with funds they
received from a statewide snowmobile raffle sponsored by MSA.
Jim Moore, president of the local snow club also realized the urgency to
have one of the new types of sleds available to the area. "After speaking
with Wayne one day about his plans to acquire a new rescue sled, I approached
the members of the club at a regular meeting and asked what they thought of
helping the fire department fund this purchase. There were no questions asked
and the money was approved immediately," Moore said, adding that everyone
in the club knew the importance of such a sled.
Upon receiving notification from the MSA that the department would not
qualify for one of the four rescue boggans due to the fact that Millinocket
already had a rescue sled and that there were other communities without one, the
Pioneer Hose Company stepped forward to help with the purchase. Larry MacArthur,
president of the Pioneer Hose Company, stated that "although the Pioneer
Hose Company #1 is a fire fighting organization we have members that do
snowmobile and that some of these members are EMTs for Millinocket's ambulance
service. We all felt that with the budget constraints of the Town of Millinocket
that this was a needed piece of equipment. The area is growing in tourism and
this brings more people to enjoy what we have to offer to snowmobilers. We all
believe that this piece of equipment is an update for the department, and that's
why we chose to help fund this project with the Northern Timber Cruisers. There
was no question on its value and importance to give the highest quality of
service to the community and to the visitors to this area when needed.
Hopefully, it will be a piece of equipment that will never be put to use".
The Equinox Rescue Boggan is manufactured in Winnipeg, Manitoba and
shipped from Ontario, Canada. It is of an all molded plastic design with three
2-inch wear bars that allow the unit to ride directly on the snow. The sled is
96 inches in length and 35 inches in width. It weighs just 130 pounds and has a
maximum load capacity of 1,200 lbs. The front hood and combination rear
attendant bench and storage area removable allowing easy access to the patient
area. The all poly bottom combined with its light weight (130 pounds) and low
profile design (28 inches high) will help make for easier towing Campbell added.
Tom Seymor, Executive Vice President and Safety Director of the MSA indicated
the biggest expense for the rescue sled is the shipping costs from Canada.
The MSA's Rescue Sled program will be placing at least sixteen new
Equinox Rescue Boggans across the state this season. According to Seymour,
"We've been overwhelmed by the support this program is getting from our
clubs and other organizations. This is certainly an indication of the club's
commitment to safety and service to their communities". The purchases this
season brings the Rescue Boggan fleet in Maine to 28 over the past two seasons.
Over 30 applications were received from clubs for the four Rescue Boggans that
were awarded to clubs in each region under the 50/50 program that was started
last year. Following the announcement of the clubs that were awarded sleds,
additional clubs and organizations committed quickly to purchasing sleds on
their own. An added incentive this year was a favorable exchange rate, lowering
the cost of the Canadian-made units to $820 this year.
The MSA has been keeping a database listing the locations of the sleds
and is sharing the information with the Warden Service and search and rescue
groups. Most sleds are available at a moment's notice 24 hours a day.
Campbell addressed the 60 or so people attending the meeting and thanked
both organizations for helping to fund the project. In closing the night out
Campbell added, "My wish is to have two of these sleds in the event of an
accident involving multiple patients. Our rescue snowmobile is capable of
pulling two of these sleds together at once therefore eliminating having to
leave an injured person on the snow or ice. This would prevent us from having to
make a second trip to go back and get that person. But at this point, it is only
wishful thinking". "Hopefully we will never have to take the rescue
sled off the trailer," he added indicating he hoped the snowmobile season
would be accident free.