The Wilton Police Department, Fire Department and Community Emergency Response Team will soon be able to go into the deepest woods to find evidence, fight fires and rescue injured hikers, thanks to a new $7,000 all-terrain utility vehicle.
The vehicle, a Polaris Ranger, should be delivered sometime in November, according to the fire department. It comes with a trailer and some accessories, like a stretcher bearer, for a total fund-raising cost of $25,000, all paid for this year through the generosity of individuals, the Wilton Woman’s Club and a state grant.
“Our objective was to find a vehicle for search and rescue, big public events where there needs to be ambulance corps presence and, if needed, in fires and ground cover fires. It will be a multi-use vehicle,” said Patrick Russo of CERT, who spearheaded the funding drive.
“Oh, yes, we appreciate all the donations,” Russo said.
Five individuals gave private donations of $1,000 each, the Rotary Club gave $1,800, Realty Seven gave $3,000, and the Wilton Woman’s Club gave $7,000.
The town up to now has had only one of the vehicles, and it was used by the parks department.
The need has grown out of the Norwalk River Valley Trail, which is open to people for outdoor exercise. “This makes it easier to get into the trail, to transport injured people out of the trail. It can carry medical equipment and personnel,” Russo said.
The ATV will be equipped to assist the fire department and volunteer ambulance corps. Wilton CERT will store the vehicle, said Mark Amatrudo, emergency management director.
“The current budget number for this project was $25,000,” Amatrudo said, and that includes the machine, the trailer, some lighting, and some signage and lettering.
“We felt it would be a great benefit to the town, and benefit the Norwalk River Valley Trail, which was the beneficiary of our fund raising in April,” said Lorraine Winsor, co-president of the Wilton Woman’s Club.
“It’s a good fit for our theme for the year, health and fitness. The beneficiary is the trail, which is good for people to get outdoors and exercise,” she said.
The vehicle will have a cargo bed to carry three responders, with a sliding skid used to carry stretchers.