Fire and Rescue get ‘new’ vehicle

Meadow Lake fire chief Neil Marsh (left) receives the keys to the recently donated 2003 Ford van from Cliff Orriss (right), the director of emergency health services for Prairie North. The van, a retired ambulance, will allow the fire department to retire its aging 1983 crew hauler.

By Mac Christie
 
Meadow Lake Fire and Rescue can finally retire its 1983 crew hauler, after Prairie North Health Region recently donated a former ambulance to the department.

The donated vehicle is a 2003 Ford van which was given because the health region bought a new ambulance, said Cliff Orriss, Prairie North’s director of emergency health services.

“Their old vehicle was getting a little long in the tooth and for us to trade (the vehicle) in on a new ambulance, we get very little for it,” he explained. “They needed something and we needed to make room for our new one, so we thought this was an excellent opportunity to work with the fire department.”

Fire chief Neil Marsh said the vehicle will serve as a crew hauler, as well an equipment hauler and a place to warm up.

“It gives us a big boost because it gives us a reliable unit we can use to replace the old one,” he said. “It will probably go out to most of our major incidents, be it a highway rescue or a large fire.”

The former ambulance was given to the fire department about two weeks ago and is still in the process of being outfitted with a variety of rescue equipment and tools. However, it has already come in handy.

“We used it at the ice rescue and the NorSask fire already,” said deputy fire chief Joe Grela. “It’s definitely an improvement.”

The donation of the ambulance, which costs around $100,000 to buy new, solves a budgetary problem for the department.

Marsh had appeared before city council in July warning that aging equipment could begin to limit the fire department’s ability to respond to calls.

The 1983 van, which was also a former ambulance, had been in the fire department’s service since 1992.

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