EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The East Peoria Fire Department will be able to purchase a much-needed upgrade thanks to a donation from a local insurance company.

Country Financial donated $4,500 to the East Peoria Fire Department on Tuesday. The money will purchase a UTV skid, which is a utility terrain vehicle with an attachment that enables firefighters to transport patients from large events.

“It’s phenomenal. As a municipal fire department, there’s always budgetary constraints, and it’s an item that was a want and a need at the same time,” said East Peoria Fire Chief Bobby Zimmerman. “You’re always weighing where to better utilize your funds.”

Right now, they use an old golf cart that doesn’t fit a cot, so firefighters are forced to move the patient twice.

“We were using a golf cart. It was only able to hold a backboard, so the actual cot for the patient wasn’t able to go on there and you had to transfer the patient,” said Zimmerman.

The skid will go on a 6×6 side-by-side UTV. Zimmerman said the skid will make transporting patients more effective.

“It’s absolutely more efficient. We’re not going to have to move the patient twice. It’s the same cot that goes in the back of an ambulance. So when you see the ambulances at the hospital and they’re pulling the cot out and transporting the patient inside the facility, that’s the same cot that will go on the skid versus just a backboard,” he said.

Zimmerman said the skid will be shared with Pekin, Washington and Morton. They hope to get the skid by spring.