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Fire Department’s off-road vehicle makes first Tanglefoot Trail run

NAFD Fire Lieutenant Eddie Latham and Fireman Jim Smith are shown in the Polaris Crew Ranger vehicle, which made an emergency run on the Tanglefoot Trail Sunday.

A medical emergency call came to the New Albany Fire Department (NAFD) just before noon on Sunday,  August 21:

A man had had a possible heart attack on the Tanglefoot Trail about eight miles south of New Albany. The call was answered by a special utility vehicle designed for off-road use. The vehicle is equipped with a stretcher, a medical trauma bag, and a portable cardio-defibrillator. It was acquired late in 2014, a joint purchase by the City of New Albany and Union County.

NAFD Fire Chief Steve Coker said the $20,000 piece of equipment, a Polaris Crew Ranger, has been previously used for medical emergencies at in-town events, such as the Freedom Fest. However, this is the first time it had answered an emergency call on the Tanglefoot Trail.

The off-road vehicle can travel at speeds in excess of 40 mph. Regular motor vehicles such as automobiles and ambulances cannot travel on the Tanglefoot Trail. This creates the need for a trail-approved vehicle that can rapidly and safely transport a patient to a waiting ambulance.

This photo shows detail of the stretcher for use in medical emergencies.

This photo shows detail of the stretcher for use in medical emergencies.

The NAFD special emergency vehicle reached the victim near the intersection of Highway 15 and County Road 101, close to Ingomar. Both the special NAFD vehicle and a Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County ambulance were dispatched to the scene.

Coker said it was not necessary for the NAFD vehicle to transport the patient to the ambulance, but he was pleased with the response time and performance of the Crew Ranger in its first call to an emergency on the Tanglefoot Trail.

The Crew Ranger vehicle is also equipped with its own supply of water and foam for fire fighting in off-road locations.

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