Council approved the donation of Ladysmith Fire/Rescue’s former rescue vehicle to Ladysmith Search and Rescue (SAR) last week.
With a “salvage value” of $15,000, council deemed the donation of the 1986 Ford to SAR for use as a mobile command centre a worthwhile investment in the event Ladysmith finds itself cut off from neighbouring communities following a major earthquake.
Fire Chief Ray Delcourt was happy with council’s decision. Delcourt said the keys to the red Ford 800 would be handed over to SAR in “a week or two” once Rescue 1 — Fire/Rescue’s new emergency response vehicle — is ready for service.
Allen McDermid, SAR’s newly elected president, confirmed the truck will be used as their mobile command unit when they respond to calls. The Ford is large enough that SAR can use it to transport its generators, stretchers, air tanks and communications equipment to searches in a single vehicle, which is far more ideal than relying on SAR members to tote equipment to call-outs in their personal vehicles, he added.
Ladysmith Search and Rescue provides back-country assistance whenever the RCMP or local fire departments require it, McDermid said, adding that they “cover quite a large district, from Cassidy and the Nanaimo River, all the way south to the Chemainus River, and from the waterfront deep back into the mountainous terrain of the Copper Canyon.”
SAR’s goal is to “save people,” McDermid added. “They could be mushroom pickers that are lost in the woods or senior citizens with dementia who have wandered away from home. Nine times out of 10, they’re good endings, but sometimes we’re called in to recover bodies at the request of the coroner.”
Ladysmith has 22 SAR members and 15 new recruits who will rely on the Ford while they fundraise for a new $180,000, made-in-B.C. mobile command unit built on a four-wheel-drive Ford F-550 chassis. McDermid said they’re researching possible funding sources for the purchase including donations from local businesses and grants from the provincial gaming fund — a process that’s “going to take a while.”
In the interim, they’ll count on “a really nice truck with low mileage that’s been really well kept.”
For more on Ladysmith SAR’s operations, contact McDermid at 250-245-4276.