NORNALUP and Peaceful Bay have just scored a combined $1.1 million of new Isuzu fire trucks, courtesy of Western Australian ratepayers.
The two new trucks cost a cool $569,000 each, and were fitted out by Frontline Fire & Rescue Equipment in the Perth industrial suburb of Malaga.
Each truck carries more than 3000 Litres of water, and both replace smaller, 20-year-old ones.
Peaceful Bay brigade captain Ivars Sulcs said it was “very exciting” to get a new truck.
“It’s great for our community,” he expanded.
“We needed a bigger appliance that could carry more water quickly and efficiently.
“They’re very much more comfortable and easier to drive; They’re automatic too instead of manual.”
Nornalup firie Neville Brass said his town’s new truck would allow extra crew to be carried.
“We only had a single cab previously, whereas this one has a dual cab,” he said.
“Basically, this is the first new truck we’ve ever had in Nornalup.
“The one it’s replacing was second-hand, as was the one before that, and before that was a Land Rover that the community bought.”
Mr Brass has fought fires with the brigade for 51 years.
“You don’t get an award until you hit 55 years,” he lamented.
He said the two new Isuzus could be deployed anywhere in WA, provided Nornalup or Peaceful Bay were not under threat at the time.
“There were crews went to Esperance this year and I went up to Yarloop a couple of years ago,” he said.
Aside from the two trucks, each brigade has a light tanker.
Mr Brass said the brigade was fighting an uphill battle to get younger people involved, and that anyone thinking of volunteering should contact him, Mr Sulcs or the Shire of Denmark.
Department of Fire and Emergency Services Fleet Engineering Officer Colin Proctor, visiting Denmark from his office in Fremantle, said the old trucks would probably be decommissioned and sold unlicensed, possibly to a farmer.
“The taxpayer does get quite good money for them,” he assured.
“It’s important to remember that these new appliances are funded through the emergency services levy that gets charged through your rates.”
Shire Community Emergency Services Manager Scott Medhurst said the levy, managed by DFES, was crucial in securing resources.
“This funding continues to improve our fleet and equipment, and over recent years has strengthened our capacity to respond to fires [and] allows us to conduct bushfire mitigation activities such as prescribed and hazard reduction burning to keep communities safe,” he said.
Mr Medhurst said the new trucks had a crew protection system that would improve safety for the six fire fighters each new truck was capable of carrying.