A brand new flood rescue fleet has been delivered for the NSW State Emergency Service (SES), to enhance its operational capability when assisting communities.
Part of a $25 million upgrade to its flood rescue fleet, the investment follows record flooding last year, which impacted several communities across the state and resulted in more than 80,000 calls for help to the NSW SES.
Emergency services minister Jihad Dib says the funding recognises the valuable contribution of the SES.
“This funding recognises the valuable contribution SES volunteers make to the state, particularly when they are on the frontline during floods and storms.
“These resources will enhance our response capabilities across the state and will particularly benefit flood-impacted communities in the Central West and the Northern Rivers,” says Dib.
More than $14.7 million of the funding will go towards 142 additional boats, rafts, trucks, cars and trailers in response to recommendations from the independent flood inquiry.
New assets include 40 inflatable rescue vessels, 50 ark angel inflatable rescue rafts, 10 high clearance trucks that can drive through floodwaters, eight light flood rescue vehicles, 30 command vehicles, two heavy rescue vehicles and two car trailers.
NSW premier Chris Minns says the investments will equip the SES to respond more effectively to natural disasters.
“The SES plays a vital role in safeguarding our communities in times of crisis,” he says.
“These new boats and vehicles will help save lives and minimise the impact of disasters on communities.”
All new vehicles are being equipped with ‘vehicle as a node’ technology, allowing crews to communicate using 4G and satellite networks while deployed, in addition to regular radio networks.
This helps ensure crews can stay connected during emergencies and overcome any dangerous communications blackspots.
Under the NSW Government’s Fleet Replacement Program, the SES has also received an additional $10.9 million in funding.
The program will find the purchase of more than 50 new vessels, storm and rescue vehicles, command vehicles and trailers to replace existing assets for SES units across NSW.
Parts of the state most at risk of flooding are being prioritised during these rollouts, with SES units in the Northern Rivers, Central West and Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley having already received equipment.
In 2022, the NSW SES had its busiest year on record, with volunteers conducting more than 3,800 flood rescues, 30 vertical rescues, more than 67,000 animal rescues, 575 road crash rescues, 2,800 resupply missions and 628 medical resupply missions.
Nearly 3,000 volunteers joined over the past year, logging more than 1 million volunteer hours.
The SES is encouraging more people to join their local unit to further strengthen the state’s defences to severe storms and floods.
NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York says, “These new assets ensure we can provide swift and effective assistance to those who need it most during times of crisis.”
“The additional vessels and equipment will help volunteers save lives and respond to floods as well as many other incidents such as road crashes and land rescues, searches and other emergencies.”