Water Tanker 2009 Volvo FM 480

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Vehicle: Water Tanker 2009 Volvo FM 480, Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Colour: Bright yellow with logos

Weight: When fully loaded, 24,000kg

Mileage: About 1.258 million km

Comments from: Firefighter Sheldon McLean

From: Wallacetown Volunteer Fire Brigade

Owner: Fire and Emergency New Zealand

When and why was it bought? It was commissioned on July 1, 2017

What is the vehicle’s history? It is a “retired” milk tanker, and came from Fonterra at a discounted price. Fonterra annually provides three older milk tankers at a discounted price to local volunteer fire brigades

Has it been altered in any way? It was reconfigured by Southern Rural Fire with help from the Wallacetown Fire Brigade. The truck has been specifically designed for rural firefighting and includes a purpose-built 14,000-litre capacity water tank, added locker space for equipment storage and high-volume pumping units on the back of the truck which allows firefighters to run water hoses over large distances. The water tank was built similar to other rural tankers, but because of its size it was made on a bigger scale so it could remain at a fire site longer before it needed to go away and refill

What’s its purpose? The tanker covers up to seven other brigades, supplying water. Although the water tanker was designed for rural firefighting and is based at the Wallacetown Volunteer Fire Brigade station, it is also used for backing up urban firefighters, especially when large qualities of water were needed

Other stats: It is the second busiest tanker in Southland, behind Invercargill. But this tanker can carry the largest volume of water

Where do you fill it up with water? Through the Alliance Group (Lorneville meat plant), which has been very supportive, or at any hydrant in Invercargill

What other vehicles of note has the brigade owned? This water tanker replaced a 20-year-old, six-wheeler Mitsubishi, with a 8000-litre water tank capacity

Best music to drive to? Lights and siren

Describe your driving style: Safe and effective

What’s it like to drive? Smooth

Top speed? 90km/h

How long ago did you join the brigade? 15 years

Why did you join? I had just moved to Wallacetown… to be a part of the community

What is the best aspect of being a volunteer? Being able to assist people in their hour of need

What is the worst aspect? Attending a fatal accident

How many volunteers are at the Wallacetown Volunteer Fire Brigade? 21

What would be the ideal amount of volunteers? As we can be on-call 24/7, at least 25

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