Thursday, July 14, 2011
sponsored by

Fulscher, Letterle and Miller to discuss water rescue program

Send a link to a friend

[July 14, 2011]  Tuesday evening Dan Fulscher, Logan County Emergency Management director, came to the Lincoln City Council to ask permission for his agency and the city and rural Lincoln fire departments to work together to research options for the local water rescue and dive team.

This comes on the heels of conversations with the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System organization for the state of Illinois, which sought out Lincoln and Logan County because they have an active water rescue program in place.

The statewide mutual aid program, commonly called MABAS, offers assistance to small, rural fire departments with special needs. Included in the program is the lending of specialized equipment that small departments are not able to afford on their own for rescue or firefighting efforts.

The organization also works with fire and emergency services throughout the state to maintain a network of special services such as the water rescue and make them available to any area in need.


Fulscher said that MABAS is interested in assisting the local water rescue and dive team with future funding for equipment and training, but there is a catch. Currently the city of Lincoln owns the watercraft, and EMA manages the dive team. Under MABAS rules, the dive team will have to be managed by a fire department.

Fulscher said this was part of what he wants to research with the two local fire departments. Currently there are no dive team members on the city fire department, but there are several on the rural department.

Fulscher and the two chiefs, Chad Letterle for the rural district and Mark Miller for the city, need to discuss whether or not it is feasible for the fire departments to take over the program completely.

Fulscher said he needs permission from the city as well as the county to go ahead. The city placed this item on their voting agenda for next week.

After the meeting, Miller spoke with LDN about the MABAS program and what they are proposing.

Currently there are only about 10 water rescue programs in the entire state, with the majority of them specializing in lake rescues and diving.

Miller said MABAS contacted Lincoln because the city owns its own boat, has trained operators on the city department and has a trained dive team already in place via EMA.

They are also one of very few teams who are trained and experienced in river and creek rescues.

[to top of second column]

The problem is that according to MABAS, the dive team needs to be under the management of a fire department in order for them to go forward.

What Fulsher, Letterle and Miller will be looking at is housing the dive team at Lincoln Rural, which means all the equipment currently stored at EMA would go to that fire department. The city would continue to maintain the watercraft and its trained personnel in the city department.

If the group moves forward, the water rescue and dive team would then be placed in an "on call" situation, where MABAS could request that they travel to any area within the state and assist other departments with their emergencies.

For the city fire department, Miller said there would be very little change in practice. He also noted that this is not a program that will be implemented in the immediate future. It could be a couple of years before MABAS activates the program and starts handing out funding for it.

This also does not mean that EMA will be left out of the equation. For MABAS' purposes, the program would be managed by the fire departments, but EMA will still be actively involved in all emergency situations in the Lincoln and Logan County area and will continue to reach out to other areas when needed, just as it has in the past.


< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching and Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law and Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health and Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor