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Pittsburgh could use new rescue boat in difficult situations

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Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, 6:18 p.m.

Pittsburgh public safety officials plan to apply for a federal grant to buy a boat that can cruise across ice during winter and won't get stuck in the mud when it ventures close to a shoreline.

The boat could be used for river rescues, shore patrols and even on streets during floods, said Ray Demichiei, the city's deputy director of emergency management. It can reach speeds of 40 mph on calm water and 60 mph on smooth ice, according to its manufacturer, Hovertechnics Inc. of Eau Claire, Mich.

The grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require the city to pay $25,000 toward the $100,000 cost of the four-person boat, said Ray Demichiei, the city's deputy director of emergency management.

The grant also would be used to replace aging engines on several of the city's river rescue boats, Demichiei said.

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