Brea Fire makes first rescue using new all-terrain vehicle

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Brea Fire makes first rescue using new all-terrain vehicle
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The Brea fire department has acquired a new ATV to make rescues in rough terrain.

BREA, Calif. (KABC) -- The Brea fire department made its first rescue using a brand new vehicle, custom-made for the agency.

Firefighters drove the red-and-white ATV out of Carbon Canyon, carrying a man on a stretcher.

The mountain biker fell on a trail about four miles from the trail head.

"Unfortunately the roads were so unimproved and so damaged from the recent rains and all the overgrowth that was back there, there was no way we could've gotten an ambulance back there," said Division Chief Chris Nigg.

Enter ATV3, the latest tool for the department.

The all-terrain vehicle allowed the rescue team to easily access the canyon and quickly get to the patient.

Chief Nigg says without it, they would have needed a helicopter.

"It's our responsibility to make sure we meet the need of the community we serve and the special target hazards we identify," said Nigg.

This is the first rescue on ATV3 since Brea launched the program in October.

It's been deployed several times in the last few months. Nearly 50 percent of the city is bordered by wildland, making the decision to invest in the vehicle an easy one according to Chief Nigg.

He says it's one of a kind in the county, built with custom additions, many to military specifications, including wheels, plates, tires and suspension.

The department hopes to expand its use to assist other departments all over the state.

"Certainly up and down the state as it relates to wildfires or mudslides or anything that might require transportation into terrain you normally can't access," said Nigg.

The ATV cost about $35,000 - 60 percent of it donated by businesses.

Nigg says all his firefighters are trained to work on it and he believes it will be a gamechanger.

"Rather than just be a utility vehicle we can actually now do some pretty aggressive search and rescue and ultimately patient extraction like you saw yesterday."

Brea Fire says they've received inquires and questions about the specifications of the new ATV from fire departments up and down the state and all over the country.