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The Neenah-Menasha Fire Water Rescue Team Needs Our Help. Please Read Below:
The brave men and women of the Neenah-Menasha Fire Department are the first responders to all emergencies, with the added responsibility of open water related emergencies. According to Wisconsin’s 2017 Boating Annual Program Report there has been a 2% increase in the number of vessels on our waterways and unfortunately also an increase in the number of accidents, injuries and fatalities every year since 2013. (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 2017) Our own community has been affected by the numerous incidents that have taken place on our local waters this year alone. One NMFD responder said it best when he said “We have more life-threatening water rescues than fire rescues”. I'm a property owner on Lake Winnebago and have rushed out to assist these brave first responders on more than one occasion and have seen firsthand how the lack of proper equipment has impacted the rescue and potentially put our brave rescuers at risk. I believe it is our communities moral imperative to support our first responders in keeping our families safe on land and water.
After the most recent tragic accident that occurred in August, I felt an obligation to step up and act. My first step was to meet with Neenah Fire Chief Kevin Kloehn, and several members of the water rescue team to understand the challenges that inhibit a successful rescue. After numerous meetings, a wish list of equipment needs was created by the rescue team to address these challenges. The items requested are by no means luxuries, but rather are necessities to the success of a water rescue. That rescue could potentially save the lives of my loved ones or yours.
Unfortunately, federal funding via grants for water rescue equipment is extremely limited and/or nonexistent but the fact that our community is surrounded by water renders it a necessity. The desired list of items that would best support the Neenah-Menasha Open Water Rescue program are listed below in order of importance to support the current needs of our community
1. Side Imaging Unit. Humminbird Helix 12. GPS / S.I. Combo- The addition of modern electronic technology to the primary rescue boat will help the first responders identify structure, ie. boats, victims, etc... with an 800-foot radius. This is 80 times more efficient than their current unit.’
How the technology works
2. This is a night vision setup. This came from a recommendation from one of our firefighters who is very knowledgeable in this area. Its a 3 part system. Night Vision Binoculars, Bracket, and Military style helmet. It is a very expensive setup but the benefits of this would be huge for search and rescue at night. A unit like this would allow the driver of the boat to wear this while navigating and searching for victims.’
3. Handheld searchlights: We could use 4 of these. - I have witnessed more standard flashlights being used during water rescues then I care to admit. Please help the crew help us while risking their well-being.
4. Night Vision FLIR LS-X. This is a thermal monocular. This would allow us to detect heat signatures from victims or boats on the water.
Every dollar counts and your consideration in making our community safer is much appreciated! Larger/Business donations may be tax deductible. All funds will be donated to the NMFD water rescue team, regardless of the goal being met or exceeding the request.
Feel free to send any questions/comments to: [email redacted]
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