A Video Ray Pro 5 ROV is now in the hands of the Lloydminster Rescue Squad following numerous fundraising efforts including last year’s Sirens and Sapphires gala.
The October fundraiser brought in over $345,000 thanks to heroics from Cenovus Energy and Boundary Ford who pitched in $100,000 each on the night.
Deputy Chief Ryan LeBlanc says he thinks in western Canada, there are only a couple of that type of tech available and Chief Norm Namur notes that with the 300 metres of tethered cable attached to the unit, they can search the deeper lakes in places like B.C. especially when it comes to finding closure for families who are missing loved ones due to water incidents.
The remotely operated underwater vehicle or ROV has better camera and sonar capabilities compared to their old gear, LED lights to illuminate murky water and a manipulating arm which allows the squad to be able to retrieve objects, like clothing under the water.
LeBlanc says they got around seven to eight calls for service last year and there have already been some call outs for assistance in Canada this year.
“Obviously with the warmer temperatures, it brings families to the lakes and rivers. So, unfortunately (drowning) is something that does happen, but being that Lloydminster now has a Pro 5 right within our community, is a huge benefit to us.”
Chief Namur notes that all of their 22 members are volunteers of which seven comprise the water team. He acknowledges the community support.
“We are so fortunate and so grateful to this community. It actually touches our hearts – that we are able to get the money and get the equipment – and then we do our training to provide rescue services and water recovery to all provinces.”
A trainer from the U.S. will be coming to Lloydminster to lead training on the new Video Ray Pro 5, adds Namur and more new equipment is on the way with another unveiling coming in a few weeks, says LeBlanc.