NOTHING beats a new set of wheels, and even more so when people's lives and property depend on it.
With the September storm season just around the corner, the Richmond-Tweed SES is ecstatic to have taken delivery of three brand new storm-response vehicles to replace its ageing fleet.
Coraki, Casino and Urbenville SES units are the lucky recipients of the custom-modified Holden Colorado 4WDs, while the region's Goonellabah headquarters will be home to a Mercedes Sprint "troop carrier".
It's the first of many deliveries for the local SES units, who are justifiably rapt.
Within the next three years the Richmond-Tweed SES will have its entire fleet of some 40 vehicles replaced in a multi-million dollar rollout, courtesy of the NSW Government's boosted SES funding.
Improvements on the latest storm-response 4WDs include state-of-the art emergency light bars, newly designed winch set-ups, automatic ventilation and lighting in the rear canopy, and the safety and comfort of a brand new car.
Local unit members could not wait to get behind the wheels of the new 4WDs, acting deputy regional controller Chad Ellis said.
"They should have their vehicles by the weekend," he promised.
On behalf of hard-working SES volunteers, he said the custom vehicles were "filled with everything they need".
"We see it as empowering them to safely and effectively do their jobs," he said.
Thanks to the new state funding, the SES has recently taken ownership of its fleet, which was previously owned by local councils.
The change means the Richmond-Tweed's standardised fleet is interchangeable between local units.