Moncton's deputy fire chief says remote rescues can be very challenging but his crews were able to reach an injured man within an hour on Wednesday.
Don McCabe said an emergency call came in from a couple who were on a snowmobile trail about 25 kilometres outside of Moncton just before 1 p.m.
The man had been bounced off his snowmobile and hit a tree. When his wife called for help it was very difficult for her to pinpoint their exact location.
McCabe said firefighters began checking trail maps and gathering as many details as they could.
"How long did you drive on the trail? Where did you park your car?"
"You know it's like an investigation, it's a good 15-minute run out there. So the captain of the engine that responded is gathering this information on his way."
McCabe said Moncton firefighters are very proud of their off-road ability.
'We usually work on a golden hour and a golden hour is from the time the accident happens to the time the patient has definitive care, we try to hold that in one hour so I think we were within that one hour.'—Don McCabe, Moncton deputy fire chief
The department responded with a small rescue truck, and a four-wheel drive vehicle that looks like a side-by-side all-terrain vehicle and has tractor tracks rather than wheels.
"Then also we have a sled on the back. We call it 'the boggon' and what is unique about it, it has the suspension on it so it allows it to ride smoothly over the snow and it has the ability to accommodate a paramedic with the patient so it makes us more efficient," he said.
The 'golden hour'
McCabe said when carrying out rescues in remote areas finding the victims in a timely manner can be the biggest challenge.
He said in this case they tried to use the cell phone the victims were calling from to locate them.
"The cell phone bounces off towers and triangulation is the three towers intersecting, but it can create an error sometimes and yesterday it created an error of about 12,000 feet so that makes it a little bit off the mark."
McCabe said in spite of the challenges, his crew stayed on the trail, went slowly and was able to find the couple quickly.
"We usually work on a golden hour and a golden hour is from the time the accident happens to the time the patient has definitive care, we try to hold that in one hour so I think we were within that one hour."
McCabe says the driver of the snowmobile did sustain serious injuries.