Cypress Pointe Earns Heavy Rescue Designation
BY FLORENCE GILKESON
Less than a month after its formation, Cypress Pointe Fire/Rescue Department has been designated a heavy rescue unit.
It is one of four in Moore County and relatively few across the state.
Cypress Pointe Chief Mike Cameron said the designation became effective Wednesday at the conclusion of successful inspections by both state and county officials. Cypress Pointe is the new department resulting from the merger of the Vass Rescue Squad, Circle V Fire Department and Cameron Fire Department, effective July 1.
"It would have been very difficult, not impossible, but difficult to accomplish this without the merger of those units," said Cameron, who is also chief of Southern Pines Fire/Rescue.
North Carolina recognizes three levels of rescue service: light, medium and heavy. The designation is based on such factors as certification, capability of personnel and equipment.
Cameron said the heavy rescue designation means that Cypress Pointe is fully trained and equipped to undertake heavy extrication, high- and low-angle rescue, water rescue and just about any other type of rescue.
The department is equipped with two sets of Jaws of Life, the intricate equipment often used to extract victims trapped in life-threatening automotive accidents, as well as other heavy rescue equipment.
"We have numerous pieces of extrication apparatus," said Asheley Allred, Cypress Pointe deputy chief in charge of medical and rescue services.
Allred said Thursday that by the second day as a heavy rescue unit, she was pleased to report that Cypress Pointe had not needed to put it to work.
By merging the three emergency units, Cypress Pointe has become one of the largest fire and/or rescue departments in Moore County. It has a force of 85 members, including paid staff and volunteers, all of whom are certified and cross-trained.
Cameron said Cypress Pointe is also one of the largest in terms of geographic territory - 95 square miles for the fire district and 115 square miles for the rescue district, which includes the Crains Creek Fire District.
Allred is one of four deputy chiefs who direct the work of the Cypress Pointe unit. The others are Gary Blue, administration and finance; David Collins, operations; and Jonathan Richardson, training.
Heavy duty rescue is expensive from the standpoint of personnel and equipment, and Moore County has made sure the county has sufficient units to cover all points within the county, according to Cameron. The county has a special operations team that also carries the heavy rescue designation.
All fire and rescue units have mutual service agreements and heavy rescue units will assist other units as needed.
Merger of the three fire and rescue units made history earlier this year. It came as a result of years of study, negotiation and planning on the part of county officials and leaders of the units that had long held positions of significance in their respective communities.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at email@example.com.
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