PALM HARBOR — It’s been a good few months for the Palm Harbor Fire Rescue Extrication Team.
First, the unit traveled to Englewood and swept its way to an overall victory at the Florida Vehicle Rescue Challenge in late June. That performance qualified the team for the North American Vehicle Rescue Association National Challenge in Miami from Nov. 6-8.
Although the competitions are just that, vehicle extrication and a team’s proficiency at it carries life-and-death ramifications. It’s the term for the process of removing people from motor vehicles after accidents, using a variety of tools that includes the hydraulic Jaws of Life.
At the state competition, the Palm Harbor team earned victories in the 20-minute Standard and 10-minute Rapid challenges.
To participate in the national competition, the department needs to raise upward of $5,000 to cover travel, lodging and necessary equipment.
That fundraising endeavor got a little less daunting earlier this month. After reading a news article on the team’s success at regionals, Keith Fogarty, a retired Dunedin public works director, presented Palm Harbor Fire Chief Craig Maciuba and Extrication Team Captain Lt. Bill Fisher with a $1,000 donation to offset some of the costs for nationals.
“We are extremely grateful for Mr. Fogarty’s generosity and will work hard at the national competition to bring home another win for Palm Harbor,” Fisher said in the press release.
The department continues to raise funds and is planning on future fundraisers, wrote Public Information Officer Liz Monforti.