Australia’s uncompromising environment and less than predictable weather creates a unique mix of beauty and ever-present danger.
From rampaging bushfires to damaging floods and everything in between, Australia can be an unforgiving place – making it very difficult for those affected by these extremes to go about their daily lives.
Thankfully, there’s a keen and alert team of volunteer first responders at the State Emergency Services (SES), who are always willing to jump into action, saving lives and restoring community safety during and after an emergency.
Be it weather extremes, road accidents, or hikers lost in the bush, the SES are on hand to respond, manage and control the uncontrollable.
For the public living in and around the southern Sunshine Coast in Queensland, the Noosa State Emergency Service are the ‘go-to’ first responders in times of need.
Working alongside local fire and police teams, the Noosa SES is a not-for-profit, volunteer community organisation, tasked with responding to emergency situations affecting Noosa and the surrounding region.
Because of the time-sensitive nature of these situations, having sturdy and reliable transport on hand is fundamental to the quality of their response.
In the case of Noosa SES, Isuzu Trucks has been the supplier of choice for robust, reliable, ‘go-anywhere’ transport to safely and swiftly ferry equipment and personnel into the hardest to reach locations in the region.
SES teams consist of volunteers that are specifically trained and equipped to assist at risk communities quickly and efficiently.
Being volunteer-based, the management of specific skill-sets and ability levels are a constant consideration as Noosa SES President, Pauline Eglington explained.
“We take on people from the age of 16 years and over. All SES members are fully trained in all roles required by our volunteers, from safety ropes and knots, ladders, lighting and radios to climbing and abseiling equipment and traffic control,” she said.
“There are a number of memorable callouts, but one particular traffic accident stands out as we had to manage a tricky diversion through the roads into Pomona and back on to the highway. It went late in to the night and we were placed in a fairly dangerous situation, mainly due to the busy roads, intersections and inadequate lighting.”
So, when the Noosa SES required an update to their response vehicle, the choice for reliability and safety was clear.
“Our previous truck was old, heavy and slow, which made our response times slow,” Pauline said.
“We did some research on other vehicles and took some advice from both interstate SES units and companies that fit-out emergency vehicles. The Isuzu NPR 75-190 4×4 was ideal for us with its personnel and equipment-carrying capacity.”
Boasting of a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 7,500 kg, power of 140 kW @ 2,600 rpm and torque of 513 Nm @ 1,600 – 2,600 rpm, the Isuzu NPR is compact, sturdy and built to operate in tough terrain, making it the ideal workhorse in a variety of diverse environments.
Being able to respond quickly to a situation, which could require any number of vital pieces of gear and equipment, means that storage and having access to what you need, when you need it, remains a vital component of providing emergency assistance.
“We’ve been able to fit an onboard generator, compressor, light tower, chain saw workbench for onsite repairs, charging bay for radios and communications, extension ladder drop-down and specialist drawers for all the various equipment needed by our volunteers.”
In addition to having adequate storage and equipment-carrying capabilities, the trucks are straightforward to maneuver, a feature that figured significantly in Pauline’s decision.
“Maneuverability is really important as we’re never sure what type of landscape or weather conditions we’ll find ourselves in. Some call-outs we receive place us in narrow roads and driveways, others in rural bush settings which means being able to maneuver the truck in tight, confined spaces is very important,” she said.
With an impressive set of safety features, such the NPR’s Anti-Skid Regulator (ASR), Hill Assist and Isuzu’s Electronic Stability Control System (IESC), the commuting safety of Noosa SES’s employees is been taken care of.
Isuzu have a long history of providing top performing vehicles to our nation’s emergency services personnel and according to Pauline, the new truck continues to meet and exceed expectations at every turn.
“The NPR definitely gets a workout from the volunteers and they are very happy to be utilising such a cutting-edge vehicle.
“Isuzu just ticks all the boxes for us, and with the sort of work we do, that’s exactly what we were looking for.”