MORGANTOWN — A gift from the Star City Volunteer Fire Department has given the Mountaineer Area Rescue Group a better way to organize searches and save lives.
The fire department recently donated a 1993 rescue truck to the volunteer search and rescue team in Mon County.
“Just over a year ago, we had this light rescue unit that we were looking to get rid of,” said Ethan Bailey, fire chief of the Star City Volunteer Fire Department. “We had outgrown the need of it, and were transitioning to another unit.”
They tried to sell it, but no potential buyers came forward. So the fire department decided to contact the rescue group when Bailey and others found out MARG needed a vehicle.
“We were happy to donate the vehicle to them,” Bailey said.
It’s been a huge help, too, according to Patty Lindsay, operations officer at MARG.
“The ability to have this truck at our disposal has made a significant improvement in our ability to deliver services to the community,” she said.
Since receiving the truck, MARG members worked on turning it into a mobile command post. That meant adding radios, computers and workstations.
The goal, she added, is establishing a base of operations while on scene. It is a place where the search teams can be organized in a sheltered location, and all the equipment is available just inside the truck. It’s a big step up from having to use the hood or the backseat of a car to plan search strategies, she said.
On Wednesday afternoon, the search and rescue group officially thanked the fire department for the donation, and the vehicle, known as SAR1, was put into service.