The Mudgee State Emergency Service (SES) Unit were presented with their new emergency response vehicle at an official handover ceremony on Monday.
Deputy region controller for NSW SES Macquarie Region, Phil Lalor, said the vehicle – which has automatic transmission and only needs a C-class licence to drive – will help volunteers carry out important emergency response work.
“It’s a $180,000 Mercedes Benz Sprinter, all-wheel-drive, cab-chassis with a purpose built body on the rear,” he said.
“It will increase and enhance the capability of the Mudgee Unit to respond to requests for assistance in the local community.
“It’s replacing an aging vehicle that was essentially a dual cab four-wheel-drive ute with a body on the back, we now have a purpose built vehicle that is at the forefront of emergency response vehicle technology.
“It has a number of chainsaws as well and a dedicated work area where out in the field the members can actually maintain the chainsaws without having to come back to the headquarters.
“So it keeps them active, engaged, and working for longer.
“We’ve seen the vehicle respond to a number of requests already, it was activated during the storms back in January where the Mudgee Unit received about 150 requests for assistance for damage and trees down.
“It’s also responded to a number of flood rescue jobs since the vehicle was delivered to the Unit.
“It’s great recognition of the commitment and professionalism of the Mudgee Unit volunteers who do a sterling job for their community.”
The vehicle is one of 42 rolled out across the state and part of a $46 million, five year fleet funding program.
Local volunteer Andrew Mottershead said that in time they’ve been using the vehicle prior to the official handover it’s proven superior to its predecessor.
“We don’t have to carry a second trailer or take two vehicles to a job and it allows us to roll to the next job without having to come back to the unit,” he said.
Mr Lalor said that it’s ready for the coming storm season (October-March).
“We’re coming into storm season which begins on October 1, of course severe weather can occur at anytime, and the vehicle will be very useful,” he said.
“In February through to March, traditionally we get severe weather, we only need to look back to January this year to see the destruction caused by that freak storm that came through Mudgee.
“That’s what can happen, it can be a beautiful sunny day and next minute you get a windstorm and it can cause a huge amount of damage.”