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Motorbike unit trains for backcountry rescues

Posted at 6:57 PM, Mar 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-26 21:02:44-04

As temperatures are on the rise, more and more people are heading up into the Boise foothills.

Crews with the Boise Fire Department brushed up on their rescue skills Saturday morning in order to be prepared for potential emergencies.

By sending the special motorbike first-responders in first, response times can be reduced by a third when compared to any other means of getting to someone in need who is in a remote location.

With 190 miles of trails in the Boise foothills, station one's special motorbike unit has their work cut out for them. 

"The emergencies come in at the peak of the trail usage," says Capt. Shawn Res, Boise Fire Department.

While each of the 40-50 trails are designated for different uses, whether it be hikers, mountain bikers, horse riders or dirt bikes, if you see one of the crew members - know an emergency situation is in progress.

The unit members are spreading awareness so they don't have to come to a complete stop to provide an explanation.

While out on the trail, Res passes a runner saying: "Thank you, yeah, we're with the Boise Fire Department. We're doing training today. Sorry about that."

No one intends to get hurt but when it happens BFD station one is ready to jump into action.

"Most of them get in a situation they thought they were totally prepared for and they realize they are not prepared or they're hurt enough they can't hike out or be carried out by their friends. They need more assistance," says Battalion Chief Tom Pawek, Boise Fire Department.

It's recommended to dress appropriately, including footwear, bring plenty of water and food in case you become stranded and to know what trail system you're on.

Practice days like these are important so that the firefighters get used to the ever-changing trails that are effected by the seasonal weather.

"We do a lot more than just fight fires," Res says. "We respond to medical calls, that's the majority of our call volume... whether that be in the city or the outlying area."

The crew stresses to keep a map handy while out recreating or be sure to watch for signs so you have a pretty good idea of where you're at.

For more information on which trails are for what use, along with trail etiquette, visit http://www.ridgetorivers.org/.