Banks Fire District #13 cuts ribbon on new all-terrain utility vehicle

Banks – More than thirty firefighters gathered on Monday evening to celebrate the ribbon cutting of Banks Fire District #13’s newest vehicle, a $28,963 All-Terrain Utility Vehicle (UTV) paid for entirely by a grant from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.

Local Firehouse Subs franchisees Stephanie and Brandon Ensley attended and spoke at the ceremony, praising the Banks fire crews.

“We appreciate all the hard work you do, going out there and doing the tough stuff,” said Stephanie Ensley, moments before Stephani Gatten, General Manager of the Cedar Hills Firehouse Subs location, cut the ribbon on the new UTV.

According to Scott Adams, Banks Fire District #13 Public Information Officer, the district was notified that a grant had been awarded to the district in July of 2017.  The district began designing and purchasing the vehicle, a heavily modified 4-wheel drive diesel powered Kubota UTV. Modifications were made by the district and Cascade Fire Equipment from Medford, Oregon.

Ut13. Image provided by Banks Fire District #13.

Designated Utility 13, or UT13, the rugged vehicle can carry multiple firefighters and is equipped with a water tank, fire pump, hose, and other firefighting equipment, allowing the district to access terrain that would normally be impossible to reach with conventional firefighting apparatus.

It also features a full complement of medical equipment, including a Stokes basket for transporting patients out of difficult terrain – a feature that Adams says is much needed in a fire district that covers as much rural and wilderness terrain as Banks Fire District #13’s 136 square miles of coverage area, which includes the Banks-Vernonia State Trail and L.L. Stub Stewart State Park.

On April 25, Banks Fire District #13 responded to a logging accident in Stub Stewart State Park, and had to carry the patient at least 1/2 mile on foot to a main road where a waiting helicopter airlifted the patient to a Portland-area hospital.

At the time, UT13 was still being assembled and couldn’t be used for the call.

The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, was founded in 2005 and has donated more than $33 million to public safety agencies for equipment purchases, according to the foundation’s website.

Want to see the newest vehicle in the district’s fleet? UT13 will be on display at the Northwest Fire & Rescue Exposition, a free event held at the Portland Expo Center on May 17 and 18. The Portland Expo center is located at 2060 N. Marine Drive, Portland, OR 97217.

Sources and more information: 

On-scene reporting from Banks Post editor Chas Hundley
Banks Fire District #13 Press Release
Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation website
Northwest Fire & Rescue Exposition website