On December 9, 1956, three young brothers drowned in a lake near the City of Longmont and there was no one in the area trained to recover the victims. This unfortunate tragedy highlighted the lack of adequately trained personnel and equipment available to respond to such emergencies. This realization led to the organization of the Longmont Emergency Unit and its activation on June 26, 1957.
During the early years, there were no other agencies equipped with dive teams in the State of Colorado. Once established, the Longmont Emergency Unit Dive Team was called upon many times to assist throughout the state and even called out of Colorado on several occasions. While the primary goal of saving lives has remained the same throughout its history, LEU has kept abreast of the most current rescue and recovery techniques in the industry with a primary focus on providing effective rescues as opposed to just recovering victims.
In the beginning, LEU was made up of mostly military servicemen. Now, it is a completely volunteer, non-profit organization, comprised of dedicated men and women who are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We are trained to respond to any type of emergency.
Our volunteers specialize in many areas of rescue including first aid, extrication, dive rescue, swift water rescue, surface ice and low angle rope rescue. In 1974, LEU was the first in the nation to be presented with an emergency locator-transmitting device for locating downed aircraft. LEU was a leader in victim extrication for the area by putting their power extrication tools, otherwise known as jaws of life, into service and has helped save lives in Boulder County since December 1975.
LEU members work closely with the local police, sheriff, and fire departments. They assist with traffic control for major events such as festivals and parades as well as crime scene crowd control, lighting, and searches of all types. They provide breathing air support for the fire department and assist with fire fighter rehabilitation at major fire scenes.
In 1995, LEU was features on the television show, Rescue 9-1-1, for the swift water rescue of two women who were pulled from their car in the St. Vrain River above Lyons. This rescue led to LEU being awarded the prestigious Higgins-Langley Award for outstanding achievement in swift water rescue in 1996 presented by the National Association of Search and Rescue. LEU was the first all volunteer team in the nation to be presented with this award.
In 1998, the voters of Boulder County approved a tax measure to fund property and a new building and capital equipment for the Longmont Emergency Unit and its sister agency the Boulder Emergency Squad. In 2004, LEU moved to its new facility to begin the next chapter in history.