Crew trucking in new engine

By Rebecca Malcolm

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The Lake Okareka Volunteer Rural Fire Force is better prepared for an emergency with its new engine. Photo / Stephen Parker
The Lake Okareka Volunteer Rural Fire Force is better prepared for an emergency with its new engine. Photo / Stephen Parker

They're more comfortable in emergency situations than rattling fundraising tins, so Lake Okareka's rural firefighters are relieved their massive fundraising effort is over.

After a 12-month effort, which saw them raise more than $360,000, they're now the proud owners of a new state-of-the-art truck which is the first of its type in New Zealand.

It's a far cry from the series of old secondhand trucks they've had to use in the past 30 years. It also comes with equipment over and above requirements, which means they're now better prepared than ever to help out in emergencies.

They've had the truck for about three months, and Lake Okareka Volunteer Rural Fire Force chief fire officer Phil Muldoon said it had made a massive difference.

The force received $60,000 from the Rotorua District Council and National Rural Fire Authority and raised $10,000 themselves. The remaining $233,000 came from various charitable trusts.

Mr Muldoon said the response from trusts and organisations approached to help fund the truck was "above and beyond what we expected".

The funding allowed them to buy extra equipment like stretchers, medical equipment and chainsaws.

Mr Muldoon said it was great to have extra medical equipment as the volunteer crew included a doctor and an advanced paramedic.

The new fire truck also has the ability to pump water and drive at the same time, allowing firefighters to fight fires on the road.

"This appliance is a valuable asset, not only for the Lake Okareka community, but also the wider Rotorua district."

Mr Muldoon said they were grateful to all the people and organisations that helped out by donating money to get the new fire truck.

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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