Officials unveil new rescue equipment

Officials from Columbus Fire & Emergency Medical Services unveiled Wednesday hundreds of thousands of dollars in rescue equipment and a new equipment transport vehicle that will help save lives in difficult rescue situations.

The purchase of the state-of-the-art rescue equipment and equipment transport vehicle are part of the establishment of the Georgia Search and Rescue West Central Task Force 4A and made possible through a $1.2 million grant Columbus received in 2008.

The grant also includes money to provide each team member with the required 400 hours of training. Task force members receive training in hazardous materials operations, confined space and trench rescue and high angle and building collapse rescue.

Training for local team members was accomplished earlier this year.

The West Central Task Force 4A has 51 trained responders and includes dive rescue/recovery and a K-9 Wilderness Search component. Plans have been made to train an additional 24 members to bring the team to a full capacity of 75.

The team has members from Columbus Fire and EMS, Phenix City Fire and Rescue, LaGrange Fire Department, Opelika Fire Department, Stewart County Fire and EMS, Harris County EMS, Auburn Fire Department and South Georgia Search Dogs Inc.