The Waxahachie Fire Department has a new tool to aid its efforts to better serve the public.

Dubbed Waxahachie Fire-Rescue Off-Road 1, the new Cub Cadet six-wheeled utility vehicle will help the department better respond to certain situations, Chief David Hudgins says.

“When you look at it, we didn’t have anything that could be used out on the (hike and bike) trail or during things like the Bob Phillips (Festival), and this will cover all of them,” Hudgins says.

During events downtown, “just the heat can be an issue,” Hudgins and Lt. Jeff Sport said, recalling years past when the department has helped several people due to heat-related medical conditions.

“We’ve had to roll people on a stretcher down the street because we couldn’t get an ambulance to them (during large events downtown),” Hudgins says, recalling another instance in which firefighters could have used the new vehicle.

Last year, WFD personnel had to set out on foot on the hike and bike trail and travel two miles to reach a person in trouble, the chief said.

Purchased from Landmark Equipment in Waxahachie “for about $11,000,” Hudgins said the vehicle is equipped with a Stokes basket and backboard, first aid equipment such as an automated external defibrillator, emergency lights and field tires, and can carry up to three department personnel.

While it was purchased with the specific purpose of addressing the needs during high-pedestrian traffic events downtown and reaching areas along Waxahachie’s trails where a truck cannot go, the vehicle could also be used during search-and-rescue operations in fields and other rural areas, the chief said.

“I think it’ll be a really good, helpful tool for us,” Sport said.

E-mail Anthony at Anthony.Trojan@waxahachiedailylight.com