With the Christmas and New Year period rapidly approaching, Taree Rescue Squad has received a timely boost to help with any emergency situation.
The squad was recently handed the keys to a new rescue vehicle, funded through the NSW government's Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA) investment package.
The vehicle, valued at $380,000, is complete with all the bells and whistles including Holmatro rescue equipment (hydraulic spreaders and cutters), lifting bags, a remote control lighting mast, batteries, cables and drills.
Squad captain Allan Sheldon gave Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead and NSW Emergency Services and Police Minister David Elliott a tour of the truck and the Muldoon Street headquarters.
Captain Sheldon said the vehicle and equipment will be a game changer for the squad.
"This is a major step forward for our squad, having access to the latest technology and equipment will greatly enhance our rescuing capabilities," he said.
WATCH: Allan Sheldon gives a tour of the new rescue vehicle
"The new equipment will reduce our maintenance and give the squad more time to focus on servicing our community in times of need."
Mr Elliott said the vehicle was specifically designed and engineered to the requirements of the squad.
"This is a fantastic investment for the Manning," Mr Elliott said.
"The VRA, like many of our emergency services, are actually volunteers but that can't stop them from being professionals.
"We want those volunteers to know their service is worth something- to do that practically we give them the best kit available."
With COVID-19 restrictions somewhat eased over the summer holidays, the roads will be busier than ever.
"There is no doubt this will be a busy summer on our roads with most Australians forced to holiday locally," Mr Elliott said.
"Already we're seeing traditional holiday destinations booked out and we're expecting a record number of travellers on the roads.
"Having Taree Rescue Squad with this brand new capacity is going to make the lives of those motorists a bit safer."
Mr Bromhead acknowledged the squad for playing a vital role in the Manning community for the past 45 years.
"The people of the Manning Valley know how lucky we are to have this group," Mr Bromhead said.
"Whether it be rescuing people from the bottom of cliffs, motor vehicle accidents, cats in drain pipes, these guys do it all and do it really well.
"This rescue squad has been going since the 1970s and have been involved in so many incidents in our area.
"They do a fantastic job, we can't do without them and I congratulate them on the work they do."
The government will roll out $18.8 million worth of vehicles to the VRA in the next four years.
Mr Elliott agreed fundraising is still a necessity for volunteer associations, such as VRA, State Emergency Service and Marine Rescue, in order to keep equipment and facilities up to scratch.
Meanwhile, Captain Sheldon, John Chick and Alan Johnson were recently recognised for their long term commitment to the squad and Manning community.
Mr Johnson has amassed an incredible 45 years, with Mr Chick 20 years and Captain Sheldon 15 years.
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