The pressure of having largely volunteer drivers and crews responding to emergency situations has been one of the prime motivations behind a Tasmanian State Emergency Service (SES) unit specifying an Allison Automatic in its latest response truck
BURNIE, Tasmania – The Tasmanian SES North West Region command has chosen an Allison fully automatic transmission to deliver safer operation for its volunteer emergency and rescue crews using a new Hino emergency response and rescue truck.
The Hino 500 Series FD 1124 Crew Cab model, equipped with an Allison 2500 model five-speed automatic, is constantly oncall to assist with general response and road rescue incidents across a large rural community in an isolated part of the island state.
According to Anthony Dick, regional command officer for the Tasmanian SES North West Region, the nature of the largely volunteer workforce means most are not highly-skilled, full-time truck drivers. As a result Allison Automatics are a much safer option for drivers and crews responding in emergency situations.
“An automatic is less fatiguing to drive than a manual and requires less driver attention,” said Dick. “When you have emergency response crews driving to the limit, and often for long distances, they are much safer overall.”
According to Dick, that is part of the reason Allison-equipped trucks are used extensively by fire and emergency agencies, so the decision to specify an automatic for the new truck was an easy one.
“The nature of an emergency response vehicle is it sits idle most of the time. When the call comes, the volunteer crew has to jump in and drive to the incident quickly to help victims,” he said. “It is vital that the crew can do that safely and without fuss.”
Lower maintenance requirements and the ability to resist driveline damage were other factors in the purchase of an Allison-equipped Hino.
“Manuals often show long-term clutch problems and gearbox damage, which is amplified by non-professional drivers. An automatic helps us avoid driveline damage and reduce total cost of ownership for the vehicle,” said Dick. “I can understand why both the Australian Council of SES and the Australian Fire Authorities Council recommend Allison Automatics as the standard in fire and emergency vehicles.”
For SES crews using the North West Region Hino, the experience has proven positive with ease of operation noted by almost every driver.
“Everyone loves driving it,” said Dick. “These people don’t have a lot of professional driving experience, and their first impression was that it drives like a car.”
The vehicle was purchased in cooperation with state and local governments, together with local community fundraising assistance, and is stationed at Circular Head in northwest Tasmania.
The truck is fitted with a customized, modular, extrusion-frame body designed to retain accessibility, while securing response equipment. It is also fitted with an 8kVA generator that runs off the truck’s engine, providing 240-volt power through 10 outlets around the vehicle.
"With the 500 Series FD Crew, we went for a bigger truck that carries a larger quantity of emergency response equipment,” said Dick. “That helps us overcome the limited back-up resources available in the isolated communities where it is used.”
The Tasmanian SES's Hino FD 1124 Crew truck has a GVM of 11,000 kilograms and a 6.4-liter Hino turbocharged and intercooled direct-injection engine that delivers 240 hp (176kW) at 2400 rpm and 716 N•m of torque at 1500 rpm.