Ferry FD adds medical rescue unit.

December 30, 2016
Lt. Chris Ernst of the Ferry Township Fire Department stands in front of the department's new medical rescue unit.

Lt. Chris Ernst of the Ferry Township Fire Department stands in front of the department’s new medical rescue unit.

Ferry FD adds medical rescue unit.

#OceanaCountyNews #FerryTownshipFireDepartment

By Allison Scarbrough. Editor.

FERRY — The Ferry Township Fire Department now has a medical first responder unit thanks to the State of Michigan’s Cooperative Mutual Aid Program.

Ferry FD airpacks

The department recently acquired new air packs for firefighters.

The decommissioned 1986 military truck went into service Dec. 1 to respond to priority 1 and 2 medical calls, said Lt. Chris Ernst, who is one of the six members of Ferry’s medical rescue squad. As of Dec. 28, the rescue unit had responded to seven calls, he said.

Other members of the squad include Bob Hawk, Ray Cole, Steve Headland, Pete Theetge and Caleb Flanery.

The rescue unit is one of four in Oceana County, including Grant Township, Pentwater and Walkerville. “Our goal is to get the whole

Ferry Township Fire Department's new aerial truck in action.

Ferry Township Fire Department’s new aerial truck in action.

county covered,” he said. Oceana County EMS ambulance service also serves the county for emergency medical needs.

“We’ve been working on this for years,” Ernst said of getting a rescue unit for the rural community.

“More than 400 fire departments throughout Michigan have benefitted from the excess federal property made available by the DNR,” according to the DNR’s website. “Over 800 pieces of equipment valued at more than $19 million have supplemented firefighting units statewide.”

The department has made many recent improvements, including the addition of a 50-foot aerial ladder truck through the DNR program last April.

Ferry FD - 2The trucks required no additional cost to acquire, he said, other than paint and decals. The department also had to install a new door at the fire station, so the large aerial truck can fit inside. Assistant Chief Rod Studer’s father, Al Studer, did the painting at no cost to the department, Ernst said.

The rescue unit covers Ferry Township, the eastern part of Otto Township, the western half of Newfield Township and the northwestern portion of Greenwood Township, Ernst said.

The unit is equipped with Jaws of Life extrication equipment and a defibrillator. All six rescue team members are state licensed with a minimum of a medical first responder designation up to the highes rank of paramedic. They had already received the training prior to the
truck’s acquisition, he said, so the team was ready to go as soon as the truck arrived. The 16-member fire department is aiming to add more members to the rescue team.

The department also recently added new air packs for increased safety. The new air packs were funded through the sale of a truck to a department in Illinois, Ernst said. The old air packs and other equipment, such boots, coats and helmets, were donated to a fire department in Mexico, he said.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Ferry Township Fire Chief Brad Fritcher. “We have a very good department, very dedicated. “We’ve come a long ways.”

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