Ocean County is known for its open space and its waterways attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. But residents and visitors alike can at times find themselves in trouble in the marshes, lakes and rivers in Ocean County.
“We now have a new vehicle that can assist in both land and water rescues throughout the County,” said Ocean County Commissioner Gary Quinn, liaison to the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department.
Called a SHERP, the all-terrain vehicle which is a new addition to Ocean’s County Office of Emergency Management, can plow through ice, mud and marshes to reach an individual who may be hurt or is having a medical episode.
With enough room to fit a stretcher, the vehicle, operated by Sheriff’s Department personnel can make its way into Ocean County’s toughest terrain.
“Based on Ocean County’s topography, having this vehicle will allow us to perform rescues that in the past have been difficult to access,” said Ocean County Sheriff Michael G. Mastronardy, who was first introduced to the vehicle while in North Carolina following a hurricane. “This vehicle is rugged and can withstand just about anything allowing us to perform life-saving rescues while eliminating the concern of how to navigate reaching a victim.”
The vehicle can move at 3.7 miles per hour in the water and 25 miles per hour by land. It can easily make its way over mounds of sand, through brush and across other obstacles including downed trees. It can also get through deep snow and moves easily out of water onto ice or other terrain.
“With all of the waterways, marshes, and open space we have in Ocean County, this vehicle will prove to be an asset,” Quinn said. “If this vehicles helps in saving one life it will be well worth it.”
The SHERP’s tires are over five feet tall, and carry a box-shaped compartment that can fit six people. It’s described as looking like a cube on wheels.
The Ocean County Sheriff’s Department anticipates outfitting the vehicle with first aid kits, life-rings, rope, floatation devices, and an automated external defibrillator (AED).
“This is a rescue vehicle for our department that will be used throughout the County, year-round,” Mastronardy said. “I appreciate the support of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners so that the department could acquire this vehicle.”
Director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners John P. Kelly extended his thanks to the sheriff’s department as they provide assistance to the public.
“The make-up of Ocean County is unique and with coastal storms, forest fires and other natural events, this is a key vehicle to have in protecting our residents,” he said.