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Ridgeland six-wheeler equipped for event and trail rescue

Pictured here is Ridgeland firefighter Antuwan Dixon with the City of Ridgeland’s newly equipped utility vehicle for trail and event medical response and rescue.

The Ridgeland Fire Department has recently equipped a six-wheeler utility-terrain vehicle for medical response calls at crowded outdoor events and along the narrow Ridgeland Multiuse Trail. With donations from local businesses, a basic vehicle was outfitted to meet the needs of medical response and rescue. Ridgeland’s UTV can enter areas where a rescue truck cannot while providing the speed of a motorized vehicle and the equipment and supplies needed for medical emergencies.

The six wheeler carries a full assortment of medical supplies, similar to the supplies found on the Ridgeland Fire Department trucks. Smaller than a truck, the UTV has the benefit of traversing all types of ground and maneuvering in small spaces while still being able to assist firefighters/EMTs in providing expert medical care. A patient can be transported safely on the vehicle with a stokes basket and backboard, and a seat adjacent to the basket allows an EMT to apply medical care while traveling to an ambulance.

“We identified a response capability gap on the multiuse trails and at community events where the fire department is on standby,” stated Nathan Bell, training officer. “A truck is just too large to be used on the trail or to travel off road in some areas, nor can it move through a crowd. Approaching on foot can translate into slower response times. Ridgeland’s UTV is the answer to meeting these particular needs.”

The City of Ridgeland owned a Polaris® six-wheeler that had been used at events, primarily to enter a crowd and identify medical needs that would then be addressed through the use of a rescue truck. Ridgeland Fire Department employees realized that if the department could equip the UTV, it could be used to respond, saving time in the case of a medical emergency. Bell began to approach local businesses with the need and found sponsors more than willing to help with either funds or in-kind donations.

Businesses and organizations that contributed include Fleet Feet Sports, Barnett’s Body Shop, Got Gear, Barksdale Cadillac, Guaranty Trust, Brown Bottling, McGraw Rental, Interstate Battery and Southern Connection. These sponsors helped the Ridgeland Fire Department purchase an EMS skid unit, stokes basket and backboard, EMS supplies, oxygen tank, IV pole, AED defibrillator, medical supplies and emergency lighting. Decals and paint helped to make the vehicle identifiable as a Ridgeland rescue vehicle.

“We greatly appreciate the generosity of our local businesses who see a need and step in to help,” said Mayor Gene McGee. “Now, thanks to these wonderful business owners and their support of the City of Ridgeland, our firefighters can respond better and faster in certain situations, resulting in safer events for the community.”

The six-wheeler made its debut at KidFest! Ridgeland in April and since then, it has been on the ready at every event in Ridgeland that has required firefighters/EMTs on standby including Magnolia Meltdown, Natchez Trace Century Ride and Pepsi Pops. “It has been used quite a bit already at community events and it has responded to four medical calls to date,” said Bell.

Ridgeland’s six-wheeler is housed at Ridgeland Fire Station 3 on Rice Road and driven by Station 3 crew members. For more information about the new vehicle, please contact Nathan Bell at Nathan.Bell@RidgelandMS.org or 601-856-3760. For further information about the City of Ridgeland, visit www.RidgelandMS.org.