COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - Urban Search and Rescue or USAR squad services are now available through the Coldwater Fire Department. The squad specializes in the location, rescue and initial medical stabilization of victims trapped in confined spaces. Structural collapse is most often the cause of victims being trapped, but also includes transportation accidents, mines and collapsed trenches. USAR is considered a “multi-hazard” discipline.
The Coldwater Fire Department was selected as an equipment pod response site in conjunction with eight other counties in Southwest Michigan. USAR is a 60 person team is made up of 23 different fire departments. The Coldwater team members are Lt. Jack Trayling and driver-operator Ryan Barle along with firefighters Eric Sherman and Jeremy Jent. The new USAR task force in Coldwater brought the addition of a new truck, trailer, rescue equipment, and around $60,000 worth of training. The total costs equate to roughly $300,000. Thanks to available funding in the current Homeland Security grant cycle, altogether, these purchases only cost the City of Coldwater 20 percent of the cost of the truck, or roughly $8,300.
As first responders for FEMA, the bottom line in USAR - someday lives may be saved because of their skills. There motto is “We will continue to hope for the best, but it is reassuring to know that we are prepared for the worst.”