SES rapt with new truck

Benalla Ensign - - News - By Si­mon Rup­pert

Be­nalla SES will un­veil a brand new res­cue truck this evening thanks to com­mu­nity ef­forts to raise funds and a gen­er­ous Vic­to­rian Govern­ment grant.

The Be­nalla branch was able to raise $136 500 to add to the $100 000 grant, which was funded by the Vic­to­rian Govern­ment’s Vol­un­teer Emer­gency Ser­vices Equip­ment Pro­gram (VESEP).

Be­nalla SES deputy con­troller Sarah Ford said the branch des­per­ately needed a new truck to re­place their ex­ist­ing ve­hi­cle, which was more than 20 years old.

‘‘With the old truck we some­times needed to make two or three trips (to an emer­gency lo­ca­tion) to get all the equip­ment there,’’ Ms Ford said.

‘‘Now we will be able to get every­thing there in the one trip.

‘‘The new truck is big­ger, faster and is full of mod-cons. It has a lot of safety fea­tures, which makes it safer for our vol­un­teers.

‘‘It has hy­draulic sup­ports and hy­draulic lock­ers that pull out, so from an OH&S per­spec­tive it is much safer.’’

The Vic­to­rian Govern­ment has re­ceived hun­dreds of grant ap­pli­ca­tions for equip­ment, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and fa­cil­ity up­grades from vol­un­teer or­gan­i­sa­tions across the state.

Mem­ber for North­ern Vic­to­ria Ja­clyn Symes con­grat­u­lated Be­nalla SES on its suc­cess­ful grant ap­pli­ca­tion.

‘‘The VESEP grants pro­gram has been es­tab­lished to en­sure emer­gency man­age­ment vol­un­teers can con­tinue to de­liver their cru­cial work, pro­tect­ing Vic­to­rian prop­er­ties and lives,’’ Ms Symes said.

‘‘This grant will as­sist the ded­i­cated vol­un­teers of Be­nalla SES in the cru­cial work they do in keep­ing the com­mu­nity safe.’’

Ms Ford said the grant and com­mu­nity fundrais­ing had been in­valu­able, but the high cost meant the SES had to use their savings to fund the bal­ance.

‘‘We used a lot of savings that came from pre­vi­ous fundrais­ing ef­forts,’’ she said.

‘‘We then got a lot of ad­di­tional fund­ing from lo­cal busi­nesses and pubs col­lect­ing on our be­half and the Ma­sonic Lodge raised a con­sid­er­able amount of money.

‘‘Dif­fer­ent com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions ran var­i­ous fundrais­ing ini­tia­tives for us.

‘‘We are ab­so­lutely ec­static that the com­mu­nity has got­ten be­hind us and we can’t thank them enough for their sup­port.’’

The new Storm Truck is a Hino 300 Se­ries, 921 Crew Cab, which will pro­vide the unit with a safe and re­li­able res­cue truck that has the ca­pac­ity to be utilised in storm and flood-re­lated in­ci­dents.

The place to be: The Be­nalla Per­form­ing Arts and Con­ven­tion Cen­tre will host the North East Dig­i­tal In­no­va­tion Fes­ti­val.

Suc­cess­ful grant ap­pli­ca­tion: SES Be­nalla vol­un­teers with their CFA coun­ter­parts.

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