Penrith State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers have received a boost after taking delivery of a new emergency response vehicle worth an estimated $100,000.
The state-of-the-art Mercedes Sprinter can carry six crew members plus all equipment quickly to emergency situations around the region, replacing a 20-year-old vehicle that regularly played up.
“It’s the first time we have had a response vehicle of that calibre as our primary vehicle,” Michael Faccin of Penrith SES explained.
“The old vehicle was heavy, slow and sluggish and couldn’t carry what we needed. It also only seated one to two people on it at a time.
“This seats six and allows us to take everything out that we might need.
“Our response times will hopefully increase now we have a more reliable vehicle.”
The new truck arrived at the unit on May 9 as part of a state government roll-out of standardised SES vehicles across the state, meaning visiting volunteers assisting during local emergencies could operate the truck and know where equipment was stored, Mr Faccin said.
“This was something that was much needed,” he said.
“With all the equipment on board, it is probably worth about $100,000. We are pretty happy.
“It’s good for the community not only in terms of response but we will definitely be taking it out to community events, which allows us to show people what we do and how to stay storm stafe.”
Wet weather kept the Penrith volunteers busy earlier this year, responding to dozens of calls for flood assistance in March.
In one incident on March 14, about 90 preschool children were ferried across floodwater to their parents by the crew after deep, fast-flowing water cut off access to their Orchard Hills building.
Three SES vehicles and two NSW Rural Fire Service trucks were used in the operation, which saw all 90 children safely delivered to their parents in an operation that took about 90 minutes.