Council Bluffs Fire Department recently received a $45,000 Pro-Drive rescue boat from Scott Alff of Alff Construction.
Following the flooding of March 2019, Scott Alff, owner of Alff Construction in Omaha, Nebraska, contacted the Council Bluffs Fire Department with a desire to help.
During the floods, it became apparent that a traditional outboard/ inboard boat is not effective during low-level flooding. High winds and swift currents cause havoc for airboats and small mud motorboats, causing boats to flip in high winds and capsize in currents. Rescuers from around the region encountered a myriad of obstacles including shallow water, dry land, heavy debris, high winds, and swift currents. The Council Bluffs Fire Department became a resource for many rescues utilizing Hover 5, the department’s hovercraft which rescued over 30 victims, 7 of which were in immediate life-threatening situations. Though the hovercraft is a great tool, it has weight and space limitations.
When discussing the flood of 2019 with Scott Alff, it was determined that a Pro-Drive boat would be useful for flooding rescues with shallow, swift water and heavy debris. A Pro-Drive Boat is designed to run in the swamps of Louisiana through debris and trees. The crafts have enough horsepower to overcome fast currents, and the propellers are protected from being damaged by debris.
Thanks to the generosity of Scott Alff and Alff Construction, the Council Bluffs Fire Department proudly owns a new Pro-Drive boat known as Rescue 51. Rescue 51 has a shallow draft and only needs 7 inches of water to float, yet can operate in open water and the Missouri River as well. Powered by two Briggs and Stratton engines, the craft is capable of providing 100% power in both forward and reverse which ensures the craft will not get stuck in the mud. The hull of the craft is dual lined sealed aluminum and is almost unsinkable due to the sizeable sealed cavity that makes up the hull. Additionally, Alff Construction donated a state-of-the-art sonar for Rescue 51 to assist in the recovery of victims under the water. To allow for consistency amongst the Council Bluffs Fire Department’s equipment, and ease of training, the sonar in Rescue 51 is identical to that of the Department’s River Rescue Boat.
“The donation of this craft is invaluable. Rescue 51 is a great addition to our River Rescue Boat and Hover 5. It allows us to improve our response and serve as a resource to the region,” said Council Bluffs Fire Chief, Justin James. “We are thankful for the generosity of Scott Alff of Alff Construction for giving his own hard-earned dollars to ensure rescuers have the best equipment possible.”