ATV club helps in search, recovery effort
From the roadway entrance of the strip mine, the riders, six in all, took first responders, dive crews and even the coroner to the scene.
Dan Kowalski, president of the Black Diamond ATV Club, said the ride took approximately 30 minutes on the highly mobile vehicles, but most assuredly would have taken much longer if the ATVs weren't there.
Unfortunately, though, Kowalski said, the riders weren't able to help the emergency crews save a life on Monday. The victim had been submerged under water for several hours.
However, in other situations ATVs could make the difference because they can travel in areas that are too far to walk and can't be traveled by an automobile, he said.
"That is a part of why were doing what we do," Kowalski said.
Various fire companies and police, including state police, have requested the services of the club to facilitate search and rescue operations, he said.
During their search and rescue missions, attached to the rear of an ATV is an off-road trailer, which can be operated in any terrain an ATV can travel.
It is used to transport an injured person from an inaccessible location to awaiting emergency medical personnel.
While transporting a patient, emergency care can be administered by up to two attendants.
Two extremely well stocked trauma bags, as well as other essential rescue items are transported with this unit.
The club has approximately 15 members, all trained in first aid and CPR, who respond to emergency situations. While on missions, the riders coordinate their activities by using handheld radios.
Kowalski offered the services of the group to any emergency groups in the area who might need help. He also explained that the group doesn't show up to take part in investigations, just to help those involved.
The club is only 8 months old, starting as a bunch of ATV riders who wanted to clean up the stereotypical image of those who drive the vehicles.
Many people think ATV riders are destructive and reckless, among other things, Kowalski explained.
"Most people see the negative side of ATV riders. We want to be the positive side," Kowalski said.
"We want to show there are people out there willing to use their equipment for the common good. We're here basically as a public service to help whenever we're needed," Kowalski said.
Aside from the 15 active rescue members, there are 100 club members of the Black Diamond ATV Club.
Group members don't make money for their work and rely on sponsorships, donations and fund-raisers to do their work.
To learn more about the Black Diamond ATV Club or to become a member of the search and rescue team visit its Web site at http://blackdiamondatvclub.com.
Composed: 04/28/2004 | Modified: 04/28/2004