St John celebrates its Big Wheels

Ian Henderson |

It's not quite a big rig, however the St John Command Unit is the biggest vehicle in the St John South Island fleet of response vehicles.

The 9.16 metre long Isuzu truck was purchased as part of the $2.8 million grant St John received in 2011 from the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust. 

St John officially launched the vehicle yesterday (26 September) and also took the opportunity to thank the Trust for their support, as well as Chris Devoy, General Manager from Action Motor Bodies, the company which built the Command Unit.

Members of the Trust who attended included Dr Rod Carr (Vice Chancellor of the University of Canterbury), Colin MacDonald (Chief Executive of Department of Internal Affairs), Gabriel Makhlouf (Secretary to the Treasury), Vanessa Lowe (Trust Advisor), and Paul Swallow (Director).

David Thomas, General Manager South Island, said the Trust's support was exceptional.  "Because of the $2.8 million grant from the Trust, we were able to purchase a great deal of emergency equipment, including the Command Unit and several ambulances.  We are very grateful and appreciative of this support."

As well, Action Motor Bodies had contributed many pro bono hours to the build of the Unit, said Mr Thomas.

St John would deploy the Unit in the event of any future disaster, where it would be used as a command centre for its ambulance operations. The Unit would also be used at large scale events where St John provides first aid cover.

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