WAYLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Police, firefighters and search and rescue teams in Allegan County have some new tools to help save lives.
First responders from Allegan, Leighton Township and Hopkins Township visited Gun Lake Casino Tuesday to show off their new devices made possible by nearly $40,000 in casino donations.
“We couldn’t be prouder to help you gentlemen do the work that you do. It’s critical work, right. You guys are running in when we’re running out… and we’re really proud to be able to give you some tools,” said Jose Flores, vice president and general manager of the casino.
Allegan police said their new drone equipped with a thermal camera has already helped in two nighttime searches.
Firefighters from Leighton and Hopkins townships said the LUCAS 3 chest compression machines they now have are crucial for medical calls, freeing up a first responder to handle a patient’s other needs at a time when seconds matter, staffing is limited and distances are long.
“It’s a great asset for all of our communities and it’s definitely something that is very needed in our rural areas where CPR can be ongoing for a long time and hospital trips are at least a 25-minute drive,” said Eric Alberda from the Hopkins Township Fire Department.
The Wayland Fire Department received a similar CPR device through casino donations a couple of years ago, which neighboring agencies have been sharing during emergencies.
“As the communities grow, it keeps getting pulled in different directions. So… we’ve really witnessed how it works and makes a difference in our community and we’re very excited to add that to our own,” Leighton Township Fire Chief Matt Weston said.
The casino also donated $1,000 to support Allegan County Search and Rescue to help during missing persons searches.
All of the agencies said they plan to share their new equipment with neighboring communities when needed.