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NSW SES gets first fleet of new rescue boats, vehicles with flood prone areas top of delivery list

The first new rescue boats for the State Emergency Service (SES) have been deployed in NSW, boosting the organisation’s capacity to save people from floods.

The service has bought an extra 142 boats, rafts, trucks, cars and trailers in response to recommendations from the flood inquiry last year.

During the deadly flood in Lismore, in the Northern Rivers, in February 2022, private boats were used to rescue residents because the local SES unit did not have enough vessels.

“We just needed more equipment, and needed it placed throughout the state,” NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York said.

“In calmer seasons, we have the ability to move resources around and pre-prepare and pre-position. That was not the case during that east coast low.

“Roads were cut, access was cut and we were limited with what we had in the areas at the time.

“This enhancement will significantly assist us by placing the vehicles in those areas of high risk and making sure that we have adequate equipment at each location.”

The SES now has an extra 142 boats, rafts, trucks, cars and trailers at its disposal.(Supplied: NSW SES)

Emergency Services Minister Jihad Dib said the new equipment would first go to the Northern Rivers, the Central West and the Hawkesbury.

“But the intention and the strategy is to make sure that the whole state benefits,” Mr Dib said.

The expanded fleet will include 40 additional inflatable rescue vessels, 50 inflatable rescue rafts, 10 high clearance trucks capable of driving through floodwaters, eight light flood rescue vehicles, 30 command vehicles, two heavy rescue vehicles, and two car trailers.

All new vehicles will be equipped with 4G and satellite technology so crews can communicate with each other when networks are down.

“They will actually have a node effectively on top of the vehicles that has wi-fi signal,” Mr Dib said.

‘Much needed’ in Lismore

mayor of lismore steve krieg looking at a televison camera while answering questions from the media

Mr Krieg said Lismore was now facing a recruitment issue, as many SES volunteers were nearing retirement age.(ABC News)

The mayor of Lismore Steve Krieg has welcomed the new equipment following last year’s devastating floods, where many thousands of people are still living in pod villages and temporary accommodation.

“It is much needed in our community as we know,” Mr Krieg said.

“Our flood months are between February and March traditionally, so it is really good news to know we do have that equipment coming up to our region.”

He said the biggest issue now was recruiting new volunteers to run that equipment.

“It is not just about the infrastructure and the new equipment.

“A lot of those traditional SES volunteers are at the age when they want to slow down and possibly step back.”

As well as the purchase of new equipment, the government is funding the replacement of 50 vehicles and vessels.

The total cost of the fleet upgrade is about $25 million.

Premier Chris Minns said 2022 was the SES’s busiest year on record.

“The SES did 3,800 flood rescues in one year, as a result of unprecedented natural disasters across the state,” Mr Minns said.

According to Mr Minns, 3,000 people had signed up to be SES volunteers in the past year.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-11-12/new-rescue-boats-vehicles-delivered-nsw-ses-flood-areas-priority/103096096 NSW SES gets first fleet of new rescue boats, vehicles with flood prone areas top of delivery list

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