Burns Lake Search and Rescue now have a mobile command post to help them more efficiently respond to search and rescue missions.
The 35 foot, 1997 Patriot has 28,000 miles on the odometer and according to Bill Imus, Burns Lake Search and Rescue, search manager, was purchased for a fraction of its value.
The vehicle was purchased through a U.S. government auction website for $30,100.
Imus said, “It would have cost well over $100,000 for us to have it outfitted as it is.”
In its past life the vehicle was used as a U.S. highway patrol command post and it was factory built especially for the Nevada Highway Patrol.
The vehicle was then inherited by a Bozeman Montana fire department, but sat unused and was subsequently put up for auction.
As reported in the Lakes District News edition of May 11, 2011, Burns Lake Search and Rescue was previously given a 1999 International 4100 truck by Dave and Stephanie Humphrey of Fort Langley. The couple decided to upgrade to a newer model and rather than trade in their truck and they decided to give it away.
Imus said they had planned to use the truck as a mobile command post, but discovered that it would cost upwards of $100,000 to develop the vehicle into a functional command post.
“We applied for a $100,000 gaming grant to update the truck through B.C. Search and Rescue and we were successful.”
It was after the grant was approved that the group discovered the Patriot.
The only catch was that it was located in the U.S. and the gaming grant funds were unable to be used outside of B.C.
Imus said Burns Lake Search and Rescue asked the Village of Burns Lake to help them make the purchase.
“The village is able to purchase items from out of the country, so they agreed to buying the vehicle for us and we paid them back,” Imus said, adding that they placed the last $100 bid that won the item in the last few seconds of the auction.
With the remaining grant funds, Imus said Burns Lake Search and Rescue plans to develop the 1999 International 4100 truck to be used to assist the command post.
“We plan to put an equipment box on the truck to carry our tents and generators. Search and rescue is all about efficiency and this has worked out perfectly.”
He said they will now have a more efficient operation and the command post will be able to be set up to communicate with the RCMP other first responders.
“The command vehicle will be the heart of a search and rescue operation. It will make things more efficient.”
Burns Lake Search and Rescue is a volunteer group consisting of approximately 25 members that Imus said can be involved in as many as four to five search and rescue missions per year.
Now the group has the command vehicle he said he hopes volunteering with the group will appeal to more locals.
For more information about Burns Lake Search and Rescue phone Bill Imus at 250-695-6685.