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ATV given to Mont Alto fire company

June 18, 2006|by RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Correspondent

MONT ALTO, Pa. - An emergency vehicle donated by a company that makes smokeless tobacco will make the work of the smoke eaters in the Mont Alto Volunteer Fire Department easier from now on.

The six-wheel ATV made its official debut Saturday in the fire department's 75th anniversary parade, Deputy Fire Chief Dan Reed said. Smokey the Bear was the passenger.

The $12,000 all-terrain vehicle, called a Ranger, was donated to the department by the United States Smokeless Tobacco Co., makers of the Skoal and Copenhagen brands of smokeless tobacco.

Each year, the Greenwich, Conn.-based company donates 60 of the machines to fire, police and emergency service departments around the country, said Amy Reed, Dan Reed's wife and chief of the Mont Alto Ambulance Squad.

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Amy Reed works as an administrative assistant in the tobacco company's regional sales office in Martinsburg, W.Va. She said company officials "didn't know I was an employee until after our application was approved."

Dan Reed said the fire company applied for an ATV in 2003 and 2004. The tobacco company approved the fire department's 2005 application for a 2006 model, he said.

Mont Alto's ATV will be used by the fire department and ambulance squad to reach forest fires and patients in places conventional emergency vehicles can't get to, Dan Reed said.

Special equipment has been added to the ATV through a $2,300 donation from the Quincy Township Board of Supervisors. It's designed to carry a patient and an emergency medical technician over rough ground to hard-to-reach scenes. The equipment can be removed to make room on the vehicle for firefighters, Dan Reed said.

Until the ATV arrived, rescue teams carried patients out of mountainous areas on foot. The vehicle will handle that task as well as deliver patients directly to helicopter landing zones, he said.

Dan Reed said 15 of the department's 25 active members are being trained to drive the ATV.

About 3,500 applications are submitted to the tobacco company for the 60 ATVs it donates each year, he said.

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