First responders expand their ability to make a life-saving difference

Community News

Mandan, North Dakota, Bismark, Foundation
The Mandan Police Department’s utility task vehicle is the department’s first and provides the ability to navigate through snow in terrain that is inaccessible for conventional patrol vehicles.
  • Specialized equipment is helping first responders in the Bismarck/Mandan, North Dakota, area provide faster rescues of trapped traffic accident victims and people stranded in snowstorms.
  • The Bismarck Fire Department has upgraded its extrication tools, and the Mandan Police Department has a new vehicle designed for navigating heavy snow and difficult terrain.
  • The departments acquired this equipment through grants from Marathon Petroleum Corporation, which add to ongoing community support through company facilities in the area.
A Bismarck firefighter practices using one of the new extrication tools during a recent training exercise at a salvage yard.

First responders in the Bismarck/Mandan, North Dakota, area have increased their capacity to quickly reach traffic accident victims trapped in vehicles and people stranded in snowstorms by acquiring specialized equipment.

The Bismarck Fire Department recently used a grant to upgrade extrication tools that aid in lifting, moving, cutting and separating sections of wrecked vehicles to help remove occupants. These battery-powered tools are lighter, more powerful and have fewer components to manage than the gas-powered equipment they replaced, speeding up patient removals and delivery of time-critical medical care.

“The new tools have better pushing and cutting capabilities to deal with the high-strength metals of vehicles today and are better ergonomically, not needing hoses hooked up to a hydraulic pump to operate,” said Deputy Fire Chief Brooks Martin. “Depending on the injuries sustained, the time saved with the new tools could be the difference between life and death.”

The Mandan Police Department also used a grant to take delivery of its first utility task vehicle (UTV), which can navigate difficult terrain and snowy conditions.

“The UTV will allow officers to respond to certain areas that, up to this point, have been inaccessible with the vehicles we have,” said Deputy Chief of Police Jason Bier. “The machine has tracks for attaching in place of wheels in the winter to allow emergency responses in heavy snow and has space for transporting medical patients with a rescue skid in the back.”

“Depending on the injuries sustained, the time saved with the new tools could be the difference between life and death.”

Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) provided the funds to purchase the extrication tools and the UTV through two $50,000 grants, one to each department. With more than 650 employees in North Dakota, these grants build upon MPC’s connections to the area and ongoing community support through its Mandan refinery and Dickinson renewable diesel facility.

The Mandan refinery’s fire brigade has a mutual aid agreement for sharing resources with the Bismarck Fire Department, which also has similar agreements with the City of Mandan’s fire department, Mandan Rural Fire Department and Bismarck Rural Fire Department. Through these agreements, the extrication tools could be used in any nearby jurisdiction where vehicle occupants may be trapped.

The utility task vehicle can transport medical patients with a rescue skid in the back and has tracks that can be attached in place of wheels to travel across deep snow.
Bismarck firefighters remove a vehicle’s roof during a recent training exercise involving the new extrication tools, which have greater cutting capabilities than the equipment they replaced.