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Off the trails, fire crews practice remote rescue work in Manchester

Another tool in the toolbox during a busy summer season.

MANCHESTER, Conn. — The Manchester Fire Department has added another element to their rescue work. They have joined a growing number of Connecticut departments who gear up and train with a Utility Terrain Vehicle – or UTV – to help them get to the hardest to reach places and make a rescue.

On a recent training day on Case Mountain in Manchester, a team of Manchester firefighters was busy loading up their UTV and heading up the trails – and beyond – to simulate saving a lost hiker and a wrecked mountain biker, among the other scenarios they expect to face in the summer months ahead.

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“We, years ago, would have to backpack our equipment in, carry our equipment up the mountain, find the patient, and then get them loaded up, start our treatment, and haul them back out,” said Battalion Chief Gordon MacMillan.

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“When the seconds count, this gets us in a lot quicker,” said Lieutenant Moria Perez, who has been with the Manchester Fire Department for 22 years. “Big picture this allows us accessibility to the challenging area we have to get in, it allows us to bring in ALS medical equipment so we can provide treatment to the patient right on the scene.”

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Summer is an especially busy time for the fire department in Manchester and, because Case Mountain overs 650 acres and is centrally located in their coverage area, people flock there for an array of recreational activities.

“The tools in our toolbox are always evolving and this (UTV) is definitely a great addition to what we can offer,” Perez said.

Jimmy Altman is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jaltman@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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