by Dennis Dalman
A new rescue boat and rubber raft will soon be standby equipment for the Sartell-LeSauk Fire Department.
The Sartell City Council authorized $24,000 for the boat, money that will come from the fire department’s capital fund.
Captain Randy Giles of the fire department explained why the boat and raft are so important. Currently, the department owns a Zodiac-brand boat, but a second one is critical because Sartell is the only department between the city and Rice that has a rescue boat.
The new boat would have all kinds of capabilities and advantages over the current one at the department, Giles noted. It’s a very stable boat that doesn’t tip no matter what the load; it holds a water pump if need be; it can hold multiple rescuers and/or rescued people; it can snap together with other boats to form a line in case of hazardous-materials spills; it also has a diving platform.
With two rivers in the area (Mississippi, Sauk), not to mention lakes and all the ponds in the City of Sartell, two boats will definitely be needed in case of multiple rescues at one time or other emergencies not just in the warmer months but also in ice break-throughs in winter, Giles said. He noted when an angler fell through the ice last winter on Little Rock Lake near Rice, it was a very difficult task to rescue the man. The Sartell-LeSauk Fire Department responded to that emergency, along with others.
For ice break-throughs, the new rubber raft is ideal, Giles noted, because it weighs only 50 pounds, fits nicely in a small box and can be inflated almost instantly.
The rubber raft costs $4,700.
The cost of the boat is a reduced price because it’s a demonstration model, though it’s almost brand-new, Giles noted.