PAISELY — First responders from Lake County Fire Rescue and Lake County Sheriff’s Office quickly came to the aid of a group of hikers that were lost in the Ocala National Forest on Friday, March 18 by using modified equipment made by Fire Rescue personnel to retrieve the group safely.
Once the hikers were located by the Sheriff’s helicopter, firefighters rescued the group of three adults and six children and transported them out of the forest to safety using a combination of existing equipment and a trailer that was originally designed for hauling wild game from wilderness settings.
Typically in rescue scenarios that involve transporting victims through rough or wooded terrain, specialized commercial vehicles and trailers are required that can cost up to $30,000. Fire Rescue personnel, under the direction of Battalion Chief Chris Croughwell, were able to use a standard all-terrain vehicle and a modified wild game cart to simulate the same commercial equipment at a fraction of the cost.
“I think it really shows the resourcefulness of our firefighters to be able to take existing and modified equipment and turn it into something that could be used for this type of rescue,” said Jim Dickerson, Lake County Fire Rescue Assistant Fire Chief. “Saving lives is our utmost priority, but if we can save money in the process, it’s a win-win”.
For information on Lake County Fire Rescue, call (352) 343-9458 or log on to www.lakecountyfl.gov.