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The 37-plus miles of Owen County’s shoreline will now be easier to navigate in emergency situations after the Owen County Search and Rescue Squad was recently awarded a $23,000 state Homeland Security Program grant.
Search and rescue used the grant to replace a 26-year-old fishing boat with a 1660 connector boat and motor designed for swift water conditions.
According to The Sentinel, a Kentucky Office of Homeland Security newsletter, county officials realized the need for a boat to navigate the raging current of the Kentucky River in 2010 during heavy rains and flooding while trying to evacuate residents.
The fishing boat was used on the backwaters to deliver supplies and check on those stranded by the high water, as well as assist utility companies and emergency management personnel in assessing the situation, but the tasks would have been accomplished in a safer and more timely manner with a properly designed watercraft.
With the purchase of the new boat, search and rescue will have expanded and enhanced response capabilities in providing water rescue, recovery and prevention services.
Along with its more than 37 miles of shoreline of the Kentucky River, Owen County also has 34 streams that run through it, as well as Elk Lake Shores and Elmer Davis Lake.
Along with the new rescue boat, a trailer and portable generator were also purchased with the grant.
The search and rescue squad received training for towing the boat trailer and boating safety from a Kentucky state fire instructor.
The upgrade will also help search and rescue work more efficiently with other emergency agencies and fire departments in the county, as well as mutual-aid agreements with five surrounding counties.