Direct Relief Donates ATVs, Rescue Gear for Montecito Search

By Tony Morain for Direct Relief

As search and rescue efforts continue throughout Montecito after the week’s devastating mudslide, Direct Relief is supplying first responders with specialized tools.

Direct Relief bought water-rescue gear for Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue (SBSAR), including an inflatable kayak, fins and gloves. Direct Relief also donated a Honda Pioneer ATV to assist with SBSAR’s rescue efforts.

A second ATV was purchased for the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

The Montecito Fire Department received a Honda Pioneer 1000 ATV from Direct Relief on Thursday. The ATV was specifically requested by the department, which did not previously have a similar vehicle.

The ATV will allow first responders to drive through the deep mud and go up steep terrain that would be impassable in a traditional vehicle, said Mark Sanchez of Santa Barbara Motorsports.

The ATV, purchased by Direct Relief from Santa Barbara Motorsports, has the ability to navigate through rough terrain as firefighters continue search and rescue operations.

A number of people remain missing three days after rains brought significant mud flows and debris down from the wildfire-scarred hillside into the community of Montecito. At least 17 people have been killed and dozens injured.

For those still missing, time is critical, and first responders have worked around the clock. Three people were found alive on Wednesday and rescued, bolstering hope there could be other survivors.

The ATV will allow first responders to drive through the deep mud and go up steep terrain that would be impassable in a traditional vehicle, said Mark Sanchez of Santa Barbara Motorsports.

Montecito Fire Department Battalion Chief Scott Chapman was on hand to receive the keys to the ATV at Fire Station 2 on Thursday.

Chapman said he and other firefighters had been conducting search and rescue all morning, and would continue into the afternoon with the ATV.

“This just dropped out of the sky for us,” Chapman said. “We’ll be able to use it right away.”

In addition to the Honda ATV delivered Thursday to the Montecito Fire, Direct Relief also bought equipment for the department from Goleta-based CMC Rescue, including headlamps, lights, rope tools for rescue, and other requested items.

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