21/06/2024 09:35 AM

The NSW State Emergency Service (SES) has received international recognition for the research, development, and introduction of the nation’s most advanced flood operations vehicles, after being presented a Special Commendation Award at the Higgins and Langley Memorial Awards in the United States this week. 

The High Clearance Vehicles (HCV), otherwise known as a Unimog, represent a significant enhancement in NSW SES operational capabilities. 

NSW SES Acting Commissioner, Debbie Platz APM, said the vehicles strengthened support for flood, storm, tsunami, rescue, and inter-agency operations. 

“It’s wonderful to be recognised on an international scale for the introduction of these tremendous vehicles. They herald a new era in emergency response within Australia, particularly in negotiating the challenging terrains prevalent in our state,” Acting Commissioner Platz said. 

“These vehicles are designed to navigate waters up to 1.2 meters deep, reinforcing the organisation’s role as the primary combat agency for flood and storm rescues. They are considered a 'game changer' in providing flood rescue capabilities to the communities of NSW and ensuring the safety of our members at the same time.” 

NSW SES Director of Flood Rescue Enhancement, Ashley Sullivan, said the agency conducted extensive global research and consulted other emergency services agencies to create the best possible vehicle design. 

“After two years of continuous development in our workshop, we have created Australia’s foremost flood operations vehicle. These high clearance vehicles include essential features such as a vehicle loading crane, front and rear hydraulic winches, a forward scanning SONAR system (to facilitate visibility beneath floodwaters), and a vehicle-mounted stowage locker,” Chief Superintendent Sullivan said. 

“An inflatable rescue boat is also included in the detachable module of the rear tray. This design means the rescue boat can be deployed using the vehicle crane and includes cage sides and a canopy to assist logistical tasks.” 

Since their introduction, the High Clearance Vehicles have been deployed across NSW and interstate to support major flood events in the Northern Rivers, Far West NSW, Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley and South Australia. 

They have been utilised during flood rescues, evacuations, resupply and reconnaissance, and are a valuable asset for training activities, exercising and community engagement. 

The vehicles are deployed and housed around the state depending on hazard and service priorities. 

Vehicle operators are required to undergo essential training and have a distinct array of necessary skill sets, including specialised flood rescue techniques in specific operational areas. 

The Higgins and Langley Memorial Awards recognise people who demonstrate outstanding skills, preparedness and achievement during swift-water and flood rescues. 



Media enquiries: NSW SES Media on 1800 067 234.

Tweed Coast Unit - 6 Centennial Drive Pottsville NSW
EPiC - Women's Workshop - Emergency Preparedness in Community
EPiC - Women's Workshop - Emergency Preparedness in Community Saturday 27/07/2024 09:30 AM to 27/07/2024 04:00 PM
Back to top