The past year has been a big one for St. John Rescue. Not only has the volunteer group’s first rescue boat been put into service; St. John Rescue is now awaiting the arrival of its third rescue vehicle, and will soon celebrate its 10th anniversary.
Marine One was donated to the group about a year ago, and although the boat is not yet fully equipped, it is operational, said St. John Rescue spokesperson Darrell Tasman.
“If needed, we can rapidly deploy it,” he said. “We haven’t used it for a rescue yet, but we were on station for the Kayak-A-Thon a few weeks ago.”
Marine One will be used primarily for rescue purposes, and will not be used for transporting patients, said Tasman.
Assisting EMS, VINP
“There is really only enough room for one patient on board,” he said. “It’s an 18-foot hard bottom inflatable. It will allow us to get to the scene pretty rapidly, and to assist with EMS, the national park and the police.”
Before the group acquired Marine One, St. John Rescue members would often have to scramble to get to water rescues, according to the group’s Web site, www.stjohnrescue.org.
“Up to this point, members have responded when needed to water rescues via VINP boats, private boats, and any other means they could find at the time,” according to the Web site. “The new boat will not only help when it comes to improving response time, but will permit members to train more regularly with marine/water rescue equipment.”
Rescue Three Soon Come
The group’s third rescue vehicle, Rescue Three, is expected to arrive on island in two to three weeks, said Tasman.
“We’ve got a Ford Expedition coming, which will be a quick response vehicle,” he said. “It will have four wheel drive with all the latest in communications equipment.”
Rescue Three will complement Rescue One, stationed in Cruz Bay and the recently acquired Rescue Two, which will be stationed in Coral Bay when its finishing touches are completed.
“The back seat of Rescue Three will fold down, so if we have to transport a patient, we will, but it will be used primarily for first response,” said Tasman. “On board we’ll have a medical kit, a first aid kit, a back board and an AED (automatic external defibrillator).”
Rescue Three To Be Mobile
Both Rescue Two and Rescue Three were purchased with an appropriation from the Virgin Islands government, which specified the purchase of two vehicles for the volunteer rescue organization.
Unlike Rescue One and Rescue Two, which are stationed on either side of St. John, Rescue Three will be a mobile rescue vehicle, said Tasman.
“It will be a mobile rig, in service all the time,” he said.
With the recent addition of the two new rescue vehicles and rescue boat, the group is going into its 10th year on a high note.
St. John Rescue will celebrate the anniversary with an opening ceremony on Saturday, November 18, at Franklin A. Powell Sr. Park.
Governmental and Community Support
Several other events, including community service projects, demonstrations and award ceremonies are being considered, but no plans are final yet, according to Tasman, who is also working as the group’s 10th anniversary event chairman.
“St. John Rescue began with a few concerned residents meeting under a tree on VINP grounds in Cruz Bay,” according to the group’s Web site, which praises Tasman for his efforts. “Darrell is the perfect chairman for this event. He has been with St. John Rescue from the beginning, and we don’t know how we’d do it without him.”
Tasman thanked the community for helping St. John Rescue to evolve over the past 10 years.
“With the support of the government and the community, it has grown tremendously,” he said. “St. John Rescue has turned into a viable part of the community.”