If someone is injured on Indian Rocks Beach, how does rescue personnel get to them?
The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation recently donated $16,700 to Pinellas Suncoast Fire Rescue to purchase a vehicle that can go on the beach and help.
"We are a beach community with over eight miles of coastline. We don't typically drive a fire truck on the beach," said Fire Chief Robert Polk of Pinellas Suncoast Fire Rescue.
"For years and years, we had to move people sometimes hundreds and hundreds of yards by hand (on a stretcher). Now we can go on the beach," Polk said.
The new Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) and Medilite Transport Deluxe System allows the fire department to navigate sandy terrain. The back of the UTV has a special area for the patient and a seat for rescue personnel to monitor and help the injured person. Plus, the UTV can maneuver through beach streets, which are often closed off because of special events, Polk said.
The UTV can tow the department's rigid inflatable boat onto the beach. Then rescue personnel can get straight into the water from the boat and help injured people, Polk said.
Pinellas Suncoast Fire Rescue helps people in the communities of Belleair Beach, Belleair Shores, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores and the Oakhurst area.
The money donated to the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation comes from the community. Each store gives back to the community. The foundation started as a result of Hurricane Katrina when the Firehouse founders went to deliver food to Jacksonville firefighters and ended up feeding hurricane survivors. Most of the monies are used to purchase lifesaving equipment in local communities.
The foundation has helped other Pinellas County communities including getting jaws of life for the fire department in Palm Harbor and computer tablets for the Pinellas Park Police Department, said Meghan Bender of the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.
“Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation gives us the opportunity to show our appreciation in the best way possible, by giving back,” said Sarju Patel, franchisee of the Largo Firehouse Subs restaurant. “We are honored to provide this essential equipment to help save lives in the community.”
The community can donate to the foundation at any Firehouse Subs location including the Largo Mall Firehouse Subs and the new Bardmoor Firehouse Subs.