Orange County Fire Rescue receives 14 new boats, including solid hull vessels, inflatables

Orange County Fire Rescue (OCFR) has some essential new tools to save lives in the water. They added 14 new boats to their rescue fleet. 

They travel in two pairs – a larger one with a solid hull and a lighter inflatable one. 

"They travel together and basically give our rescuers options when it comes to a water rescue call," said Orange County Fire Rescue Lt. Brandon Allen.

OCFR said they planned to deploy these boats to stations throughout the county so that they could reach any water rescue site within ten minutes. 

"It's critical. Seconds count, especially when we're talking about water emergencies," said OCFR firefighter Justen O'Hare.

With the start of summer and hurricane season around the corner, OCFR said these new boats would give them the versatility they needed to respond to any water emergency. 

"The boat you see on the bottom is designed more for our larger bodies of water, kind of like the water we're at right now on the Butler chain. It provides stability for our divers and has side scan SONAR capabilities so we can see what's underneath us, so it's designed for that," Lt. Allen said. "The top boat we call our ribs. That's our more versatile boat. We don't always have the luxury of a nice boat ramp like we do here today. Sometimes, we go into retention ponds. So, having an inflatable boat, four firemen can lift and put into any body of water in the county and still be able to operate with a boat in the water," 


O’Hare said these boats would help them quickly respond to water rescues and evacuations after storms and catastrophic flooding. 

"Being able to have our ribs on top and have two boats respond from one location is efficient, and you can't really ask for more than that."