When fighting a fire or dealing with other disasters, firefighters and other responders are often exposed to extreme temperatures and can be prone to overexertion, dehydration and other ailments.
Now, through Citizens’ Ambulance Service, a rehabilitation trailer will provide equipment to relieve these situations.
The rehab trailer and supplies cost about $35,000 and was funded through the county and a donation from First Commonwealth Bank, said Randy Thomas, director of operations for Citizens’.
The trailer is packed with equipment including lighting, portable shelters with heat, AC and lights, chairs, protective garments, bottled water, traffic cones, medical monitoring equipment, oxygen and more.
It was a “sizable project for firefighter safety,” Thomas said.
The idea to implement the rehab trailer started a few years ago after firefighters spent a long, hot, summer day battling a blaze, said Tom Stutzman, director of the county’s Emergency Management Agency.
Officials from the Indiana Fire Association asked the other agencies to address the need of a rehab trailer, he said. While the county had most of the equipment — required for HAZMAT response — it was not utilized for response for other incidents.
They presented the concept to the county, where it was welcomed and received funding. A donation was also provided by First Commonwealth Bank.
Orlando V. Fulgenzio III, senior vice president and marketing manager at First Commonwealth Bank, said it was the bank’s pleasure to help fund the rehab trailer.
“As a community bank, it’s our responsibility to support these kinds of efforts,” he said.
Chris Wilson, facilities and fleet manager with Citizens’, customized the trailer with the Citizens’ maintenance department, adding exterior lighting, shelving and more.
Thomas estimated that the rehab trailer is the only one in the immediate area, and that other regions may begin to request the resource.
The trailer, with only some of the equipment and before it was fully completed, was first utilized last year at the fire that destroyed the Creps Publications building in White Township.
Locally, Thomas estimates it will be used about a six times a year for significant events, and possibly more regionally once word gets out.