Lloydminster Rescue Squad member Joel Baynton showed the Rotary Club of Lloydminster one of their older cold water ice suits they will recycle and replace with eight new ones with some of the $10,000 Rotary donated them. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO
The Lloydminster Rescue Squad is almost ready to plunge into cold water to a save a life or two zipped into new flotation ice suits.
The volunteer squad will buy eight new Mustang Ice Commander suits thanks to a $10,000 donation from the Rotary Club of Lloydminster’s president’s project.
They will also use the money to purchase four Cat S60 thermal imaging cameras for search and rescue operations.
“It’s a great feeling and it’s exciting at the same time, and we were pleased that we were the recipients of that decision,” said rescue squad chief Norm Namur at the club’s Monday meeting.
Namur said the plan is to buy new Mustang suits and replace some of the old Stearns cold water rescue suits that are beyond their shelf life.
“We’ve had them for about 20 years and their shelf life is about 12 years, so they are well over due to be replaced,” he explained.
While Namur spoke, rescue squad member Joel Baynton, modelled the new ice suit and an older one.
“The old ones we are going to be sending to a company in Vancouver that takes used equipment and gives it to other deserving agencies that are in need, for example, their codes aren’t as stringent as our codes,” said Namur.
He said they’ve been called to two water rescue calls this year with ice suits ready to be utilized at all times.
“Even if you’re submersed in water right up to the end of June it’s still cold to be in the water for five or 10 minutes,” he said.
Namur said the 16 member squad trains in the fall and the spring with ice rescues to give all of their members a feel for the buoyancy in the ice suits.
“You’ve got to know how to stay vertical because it always tends to bring you in that horizontal position,” he said, adding they are always looking for new members to train.
Namur said the squad averages about 70 calls a year for all types of land, water, and vehicle rescues that will be made easier with the Cat S60 cameras.
The cell phone size cameras have a thermal imaging range of about 100-150 feet for multiple search and rescue situations.
“Sometimes we’ll go to rollovers and the truck is upside down; we don’t know if there’s someone under the vehicle,” said Namur, noting that’s often the case in the winter with snow on the ground.
“We can utilize the camera to see if there is someone underneath there and it will reveal a heat source.”
Namur said the squad will often work in partnership with the RCMP on searches using equipment such as a drone and an under water camera with rescue accessories and even a cadaver dog, all funded by proceeds for their annual gala and donations from groups such as Rotary.
They also get $30,000 a year from the RM of Britannia and this year, Namur said SGI nearly doubled the rate paid for a vehicle rescue to $913 an hour per call.
“When you do 20 to 30 calls a year that is revenue generated,” he said.
Namur also told Rotary their new office that’s being built by Grade 11 and 12 shop students at Lloydminster Comprehensive High School will be moved by K&R Moving to a site behind the Britannia Fire Department this Saturday evening.
The structure will be the squad’s first permanent home in its history dating back to the mid 80s.
“It’s not going to be completely done; there’s still a lot of work to be done,” said Namur, who added “it’s been a wonderful community effort.”
The project was funded by a $45,000 donation from the Boundary Ford Gives Fund.
“Boundary Ford came up with the money and the school came up with the labour part,” he said.
“We are so pleased with Boundary Ford and the high school and not only those two, but so many other businesses that have stepped up to the plate and given us a donation and made this possible.”
He said without the community partners, having their own office with air conditioning wouldn’t have been possible.
Namur said when they get it to the site they have to strap it down to the cement foundation and after that there will be a few little touch ups including a deck for steps and some carpeting to install.
“And after that hang the pictures and we’re ready to move in,” he said.