Maketū Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer Shane Gourlay, left, with Trinity Lands' general manager, horticulture, Nathan Smith at the handing over of the brigade's new medical response vehicle. Photo / Peter Drury
By Stuart Whitaker
As a first responder volunteer station, Maketū Fire Brigade gets called to plenty of medical events.
Now it has a brand new vehicle to send to those calls.
Last week the brigade's new medical response vehicle was blessed and handed over and is now part of the brigade's fleet of vehicles.
Chief Fire Officer Shane Gourlay says the new vehicle has been purpose built for the brigade's needs.
''It comes with just about everything an ambulance has,'' he says.
''We need it because we are a first response brigade and we go to most medical calls that St John Ambulance get called to - cardiac arrests, allergy reactions, breathing problems - just about everything.''
The vehicle also has a stretcher than can be used to transfer patients to a helicopter if needed. It is also likely to be used for vehicle accident callouts.
Maketū volunteers attended 115 medical calls of a total of 228 in 2020, and there were also 35 motor vehicle accident call outs during the year.
''So this vehicle is going to get plenty of use. ''
The number of calls and the age and mileage of the previous medical response vehicle were factors in the need for a new vehicle.
Based on a 2020 Ford Transit, the vehicles replaces an older medical response vehicle, originally bought from the ambulance service, that Shane says was ''past its use by date''.
The new vehicle has been totally funded by the community.
Financial sponsors have included Trinity Lands, Farmer Auto Village, Mike Montgomery, Western Bay Community Resilience Fund, Maketū Community Board and Maketū Gentleman's Club. Wade Group, Diesel Solutions Ltd, Sign Creations, Ultimate Motor Group and Neil Albert have helped out in other ways.
The brigade is also on the lookout for sponsors who might be able to contribute to the ongoing costs of running the new vehicle.