A group of volunteer firefighters in the Waikato have imported an American-made fire engine equipped with hydraulic rescue tools needed for the increasing number of accidents and medical emergencies they attend.
The Cambridge Volunteer Fire Brigade raised $150,000 to buy the left-hand-drive V8-engined truck, import it from the United States and convert it to right-hand-drive.
The Ford F150, the only one of its kind in the country, is kitted with specialist rescue equipment including "jaws of life" and spreader cutters.
As well, it carries a defibrillator and oxygen.
It is four-wheel drive which means it can go off-road, is bigger and heavier than a standard engine, and also has a winch to enable firefighters to hoist people up banks.
It has two smaller pumps for fighting rural fires, which it can get close to because of its 4WD ability, adding to the brigade's engine and pump capabilities.
Chief fire officer Don Gerrand said firefighters were "rapt" with the engine, which was unveiled last Sunday.
He said it had already been used to attend two fatal accidents.
Mr Gerrand said the brigade attended 300 calls a year, which included fires, accidents and medical emergencies.
"Because things have changed we're now fire and rescue and we're doing that sort of work.
"When St John [Ambulance] is busy with another call we'll go instead."
He said the brigade's rescue van had become too small for the equipment the crew needed while the new appliance could also carry five firefighters.
Grants from Pub Charity and Fonterra as well as two years of fundraising helped secure the engine, which was ordered a year ago.