FARMINGTON — A local search and rescue team is acquiring a piece of equipment that leaders hope will help save lives when people get into dangerous spots anywhere in Davis County — from the Wasatch mountaintops to the waters of the Great Salt Lake.
The two-compartment tracked vehicle, called a Sisu Nasu, is an armored troop carrier created for the Finnish army.
Its militaristic camouflage paint job is being replaced and updated with sheriff’s insignia. The vehicle will be unveiled at a search and rescue car show and fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 2 at the sheriff’s office, 800 W. State St., Farmington.
Archibald said the Sisu Nasu could serve as a mobile command post, haul supplies or rapidly deploy rescuers “into a place where otherwise it would be next to impossible to get through.”
The vehicle, which weighs 11,500 pounds and is almost 8 feet long, can go 5 mph in the water and 40 mph on the ground, according to manufacturer specifications.
“Diesel Brothers notified us they had six of these vehicles and they would like to donate one for our use,” Archibald said. “They’ll also take care of maintenance and problems if we ever have any. We only need to learn how to drive it and then go out and save people.”
Davis Search and Rescue is a nonprofit, volunteer organization that the sheriff’s office calls upon when hunters, boaters and others are lost or stranded. The group depends on donations to operate. Archibald said it takes about $250,000 a year to keep the team of 38 members functional with updated training, equipment and supplies.
Dave Sparks and Dave Kiley of Diesel Brothers are members of the search and rescue team. In response to the Sisu Nasu donation, the sheriff’s office is naming the two as honorary colonels with the search and rescue team, according to a news release from the Diesel Brothers’ umbrella company, DieselSellerz Corp.
Sparks, the company founder, and Kiley appear in the “Diesel Brothers” reality series on the Discovery Channel.
“We know that the Davis County Search and Rescue team face dangerous conditions and situations and put their lives at stake for our community,” Sparks said in a news release. “We wanted to give them a vehicle that can provide safer rescue conditions for both the rescuers and the victims.”
The Sisu Nasu has a retail value of $60,000, said DieselSellerz spokeswoman Nastasia Steele.
The vehicle will supplement Search and Rescue’s fleet of two pickup trucks, four trailers, five snowmobiles, four ATVs and a two-person hovercraft, Archibald said.
“We have a need for a multi-terrain vehicle,” he said. “Davis County has a majority of its land mass under water, and we spend a lot of time on mountain rescues, rope rescues ... and in swamp areas when duck hunters get stuck out there.”
Archibald said one of his biggest search and rescue fears is an airliner crashing in the Great Salt Lake.
Salt Lake City International Airport flight patterns go over the lake, “and if we had an airliner go down, we couldn’t do as much with a hovercraft with only two people.”
“With the Sisu Nasu we could get 17 team members in the water near the patients and transport them back,” he said. “It’s the biggest asset we could speak of in any wilderness-type situations.”