Montecito Mudslide

Direct Relief Donates Rugged ATVs, Rescue Gear for Search and Rescue in Montecito

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

On Friday, Direct Relief purchased water rescue gear for Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue, 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.

Montecito Fire Battalion Chief Scott Chapman with a Direct Relief-donated Honda Pioneer 1000 ATV, purchased Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. Direct Relief purchased the ATV from Santa Barbara Motorsports, and the vehicle was specifically requested by the fire department for its ability to navigate through rough terrain as they continue search and rescue operations. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

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 was purchased by Direct Relief from Santa Barbara Motorsports and 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 from the incident.

For those still missing, time is a critical element, and first responders have worked around the clock. Three people were found alive on Wednesday and rescued, bolstering hope that 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.

Mark Sanchez of Santa Barbara Motorsports shows Battalion Chief Scott Chapman the features of the ATV, which allow seats to fold down for search and rescue. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

Montecito Fire Department Battalion Chief Scott Chapman was on hand to receive the keys 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 purchased equipment for the department from Goleta-based CMC Rescue, including headlamps, lights, rope tools for rescue and other requested items.

Direct Relief will continue responding to community needs. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

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