HOMER prepares for the Rally



Courtesy of Rapid City Fire Department

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Friday is the official start of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and the Rapid City Fire Department is refreshing training on its “Ambu-bus.”

RCFDs healthcare operations medical evacuation rig — a.k.a. “HOMER”  — was parked outside Station 1 to give crews a chance to reacquaint themselves with the apparatus.

Just like how firefighters prepare for wildfire season in the spring, crews also prepare for mass casualty incidents with HOMER right before the start of the Rally and preparing for the possibility of transporting multiple patients to the nearest health-care facility.


Courtesy of Rapid City Fire Department

HOMER is completely self-sufficient, equipped with a large diesel engine, a generator and medical supplies to help treat the walking wounded during a large-scale incident.

“The Ambu-bus is designed to carry roughly twenty to thirty people,” said Lt. John Potter. “We put wheelchairs, extra cots. There is seating. There’s car seats, medical supplies. All sorts of different things on the Ambu-bus to take care of again the walking wounded.”

Potter says with South Dakota’s growing population, the addition to the Summit Arena and large turnout for tourism season, having HOMER on-hand keeps the department prepared.

RCFD is also preparing for the increase in calls that come with the Rally. Firefighters say they usually notice an increase in calls two-to-three weeks before the Rally.


Courtesy of Rapid City Fire Department

An additional ambulance will be staffed during the Rally by bringing in off-duty personnel as needed. Additionally, South Dakota Task Force 1 — which is a group of firefighters from across the state — will be on standby during their training here.

“A lot of traffic is going to be going through some of our smaller departments surrounding us and so sometimes we’ll have to be running out into the county to support them,” Potter added. “So that extra man-power is going to help us out.”

RCFD is asking residents to not add to the calls unless absolutely necessary.

Also, Potter reminds us all to look twice — with hundreds of thousands of motorcycles coming to the area — and to be fire-wise during these dry conditions.

Categories: Local News