PORT ANGELES — Clallam County Fire District 2 has used a grant to purchase a special stretcher to rescue patients in remote areas.
District officials announced Monday the $1,907 grant from the Clallam County Physicians Community Benefit Fund to purchase the rescue litter and wheel attachment.
“In recent years, the Fire District has experienced several rescues of patients located in remote areas only accessible by trails,” Clallam 2 Fire-Rescue Chief Jake Patterson said in a press release.
“Ambulances and other vehicles would not be able to reach the victim due to this limited access. The new rescue litter with wheel attachment will allow the First District to safely access the patient and move them to the nearest point where an ambulance can be waiting.”
Without the litter, a crew of about 15 would need to hike into a remote area to carry a patient to safety, Patterson said.
“At times this can exceed four miles and rescuer safety becomes a concern due to fatigue, which can cause not only injury to the rescuer themselves, but also the patient,” Patterson said.
The aluminum rescue litter and separate wheel attachment can be loaded onto an ambulance or other fire district vehicle in two pieces and assembled at the trailhead.
An oversized all-terrain tire surrounded by a steel frame provides support and stability for the litter, which was purchased from Cascade Rescue Co. of Sandpoint, Idaho.
“This new litter and wheel system will allow as little as two rescuers at a time to safely navigate down the trail and greatly decreases fatigue because the rescuers will not be carrying the patient by hand,” Patterson said.
“The large, oversized wheel provided for a stable ride while navigating the uneven terrain often found on local trails.”
Clallam 2 Fire-Rescue covers the area around Port Angeles from the Deer Park area to Lake Crescent.
It is often called to assist with rescues in Olympic National Park, including the Elwha Valley, Lake Crescent, Hurricane Ridge and the Sol Duc areas, Patterson said.
Fire District 2 also has large portions of state Department of Natural Resources lands within its borders, he added.
“Clallam 2 Fire-Rescue would like to recognize and thank the Clallam County Physicians Community Benefit Fund (CCPCBF) for their generous support,” Patterson said.
“As an organization we appreciate the assistance provided by the CCPCBF and their dedication to improving the safety and positive outcomes of patients in our region.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected] dailynews.com.