Gooderham firefighters are fundraising to get a vehicular upgrade for their rescue missions in the bush.
The firefighters launched a $25,000 GoFundMe campaign Nov. 18 for a new rescue side-by-side. The hall hopes to use the vehicle to improve their capabilities over their current ATV.
The station’s fire chief Brian Horner said they got a lot of use out of the ATV this past summer, as much of their area can only be accessed by off-road vehicles. But he said firefighters found the vehicle limited as it could only carry two people.
“You need to get more firefighters into the bush to do rescue and a paramedic and get somebody out as well,” Horner said. “The sleigh we pull behind our four-wheelers works, but it’s not the greatest. It gets caught on stuff all the time.”
He added a side-by-side would be significantly better to handle the rough terrain and allow for more occupants.
Horner said the hall has fundraised for equipment dating back to 2009 when they worked toward a new Jaws of Life. Typically they only do events such as barbecues to raise money but Horner said they wanted to expand their reach through GoFundMe.
“It seems to use social media better,” Horner said. “Cottagers might find out about it now.”
Their ATV was stolen around Oct. 27 but firefighters recovered it Nov. 3. Horner said the ignition needed replacement but the vehicle was in good condition. He added fire vehicles typically have a 10 or 20-year life cycle. The township is not paying for a replacement since it is not due until 2026.
“I understand why. There are other, more important, pressing vehicles that need to be replaced,” Horner said. “They can replace something better for us when it comes to our turn again.”
Highlands East acting fire chief Christ Baughman said the ATV is from 2006. In the years since, the municipality has replaced ATVs with side-by-sides in other halls when they are due.
“It’s great that they’re taking it upon themselves to improve the equipment,” Baughman said. “We completely encourage it and gladly accept it.”
The campaign has raised $1,755 as of Nov. 29. Horner said he is glad about the response, though he would have liked to have seen the campaign go more viral.
“Sometimes, these GoFundMe pages, they move a little quicker but I guess we just have to get the word out more,” he said.
The GoFundMe is accessible at gofundme.com/f/Gooderham-st-3firefighters-new-rescue-vehicle.