Amphibious life-saving transporter unveiled in Elma
It’s not your average emergency vehicle. It can float on water and glide over huge snow mounds, helping emergency responders get to places that are difficult or impossible to access by foot.
The Blossom Fire Department in Elma has started training crews on a newly-purchased Argo Utility Task Vehicle, an amphibious transporter that was built in Ontario, Canada.
Elma is home to creeks and other difficult terrain that can be hard to reach during fires, floods, and other emergencies.
“When those unexpected floods and storms occur, all those areas become inaccessible to the type of equipment that currently is available and long delays occur as a result," said Fire Chief Mark Schaefer.
The chief explained that the unusual vehicle is designed in a way that applies almost no downward force on the ground as it's moving. By comparison, a human foot puts four times as much pounds-per-square-inch on the ground.
The department bought the vehicle for $50,000 using surplus funds. No additional funding was required from the town.
About 25 Argo vehicles are being used around the state, but this is the only one in Western New York. Schaefer told WBFO the unique life-saving vehicle will also be made available to other agencies.
“We also assist with the other companies in town and when called upon we can help in the county or even if need be, the state,” said Schaefer. “We’re going to be getting a trailer to be able to transport to wherever that emergency is.”