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The Franklin County Rescue Squad has received a new piece of equipment emergency responders are hoping will make a difference in how fast they can get to victims at Tims Ford Lake.
Inflatable rescue boats, nicknamed “rubber ducks,” are made of rubber and consist of four inflatable tubes.
Typically the rubber is colored a shade of red, termed “rescue red.” The boats have a rigid floor piece and a rigid transom for fitting an outboard motor.
This motor is capable of providing a maximum drive speed of between 25 to 30 knots on flat water. Two-stroke fuel is stored in a flexible fuel bladder and is secured by four clips to the floor in the bow.
Richard Axt, an Estill Springs Fire Department fireman, noted the need for an inflatable craft for his hometown county rescue department during an annual Suzuki dealer meeting held in Key Largo, Fla.
Josh Palmer of Impact Marine Group in Chula Vista, Calif., a manufacturer of inflatable boats and also a fire and rescue responder, graciously donated the rescue craft to the Rescue Squad.
Gilliams’ Marine, a Suzuki engine dealer from Tullahoma, has offered to assist with equipping the watercraft.
Axt said the combined contribution is greatly appreciated.
“The value of this contribution is not solely monetary,” he said. “The true value comes from its use in training and assisting search and rescue opportunities that could save lives.
“Our ultimate goal as rescuers is to prepare for the worse situation in order to yield the best outcome.”
Mayor Richard Stewart paid tribute to Axt for going the extra distance to get the boat.
“I greatly appreciate Richard Axt’s concern for Franklin County and the rescue efforts we have available to ensure the safety of our citizens,” he said. “I also appreciate his dedication on the local level as a fireman for the Estill Springs Fire Department.”