Editor's note: This story was first published on 07/27. This version corrects to omit an extra two letters from end of story from "scene ne" to "scene."
The Dundalk Fire Department is welcoming an addition to its fleet. The re-fitted vehicle will serve a dual purpose: a spot for firefighters to recover at a fire scene and a means to transport its UTV.
The fire department started looking into what are called “rehab” trailers in January, Fire Chief Derek Malynyk explained.
Knowing that the new track which equips the UTV for a wider variety of terrains also made it wider, the chief thought having one piece of equipment for both uses would save money.
“We used to have a flat-bed trailer that would transport the UTV to the scene, but with the track kit giving it a wider footprint we were not sure if it would still fit on the trailer,” Chief Malynyk told the Herald in an email.
“When exploring our options, trailer companies wanted big amounts of money for what we had envisioned. The wait time was also very long due to COVID-19.”
When the department found a 2019 16 by 8.5 foot trailer available for purchase, the chief said they approached Flato Founder and President Shakir Rehmatullah with their vision.
“He was very supportive of the idea and instantly donated money to make the project happen,” the chief wrote.
Members from the Dundalk Fire Department then began retrofitting the trailer using local companies for supplies as much as possible.
Brent Russell, owner of Dunwood Signs and Textiles and longtime department member, ended up donating all the material and his time installing all the exterior decals to the trailer.
Rehabilitation at emergency scenes plays a big role in firefighter safety.
“As an emergency call progresses in time firefighters may become fatigued (mentally and physically) as well as hungry and dehydrated, which if not corrected increases the risk of injury drastically,” the chief explained.
“This unit allows our firefighters the ability to recharge at a scene by taking them out of the elements to sit in a cooler or warmer environment depending on the time of year, rehydrate, warm some food, use the washroom as well as give them the ability to take a mental break from the scene in a safe environment.”
The re-finished interior has long cushioned benches which can be folded up when not in use. The trailer can also be used as a mobile command post if needed and will transport the UTV to any scene.
M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald