IT may be 32 years old, but Port Fairy’s State Emergency Service unit is about to get its first brand new truck.
A new $150,000 storm response and rescue vehicle will be delivered in the coming months to replace a 22-year-old truck which was bought off the Heywood SES unit more than 10 years ago.
The new truck has been funded with $50,362 from the groups own fund-raising, $30,000 from the Port Fairy Folk Festival and $100,000 from the state government.
Premier and member for South West Coast Denis Napthine joined volunteers at the unit’s Sackville Street headquarters yesterday and said the new vehicle would include rescue equipment to respond to storm and flood emergencies.
“The Port Fairy SES isn’t the biggest, but it is one of the most active and committed,” Dr Napthine said.
“The rescue vehicle is the busiest in the busiest in the fleet and the new truck will ensure the volunteers can respond quickly and safely to emergency situations in our community.”
Unit controller Stephen McDowell said the $100,000 state government contribution would mean members could get on with doing the job they are trained for rather than be out raising funds.
“This is a huge step forward for us. It will improve safety for the members,” Mr McDowell said.
“The new truck will be fully equipped and will become our storm response vehicle, allowing our other truck to become the road accident rescue vehicle.”
Volunteer Sharna Elliott has been with the Port Fairy unit for 10 months after relocating to the town from Bundaberg in Queensland.
She said she was compelled to join after witnessing the work of SES volunteers during the devastating Queensland floods in 2011.
“The floods didn’t effect my house directly, but what I saw the SES do during that time made me want to give something back to the community,” Ms Elliott said.
“When we moved to Port Fairy I saw there was an SES and I joined up. It’s great and I learn something new every time we go on a job.”