With the recent arrival of its latest state-of-the-art Isuzu 7.5 tonne command unit, West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) has been able to replace three of its current vehicles with the single Isuzu, which will act as a brand-new bespoke incident command vehicle incorporating the latest technology to deal with major and prolonged incidents.
The dedicated state-of-the-art Isuzu provides a communications hub and base for WMAS commanders at the ground scene, for the duration of an incident, acting as a ‘mobile mini headquarters’. It is planned to send the command vehicle to support air, rail and multi-vehicle incidents, or more prolonged incidents, such as flooding, within the West Midlands region.
As the new Isuzu command vehicle enters service in the West Midlands, Tony Page, general manager fleet services at WMAS said, “The unit will enable a tactical command post to be deployed at the incident ground, housing operators and commanders, whilst also accommodating multi-agency responses, where required. The Isuzu will also provide us with a regional command training suite.”
The WMAS command vehicle is based on an Isuzu Forward 7.5 tonne N75.190 rigid chassis, which has been supplied by local West Midlands Isuzu Truck dealer, Aquila Truck Centre.
As WMAS’s Tony Page commented, “We already operate an Isuzu vehicle within our major incident fleet and are familiar with the excellent payload facility. With this latest fleet addition, we realised that the complex body specification would prove to be quite a challenge. However, with the proven payload of the Isuzu, we were also confident that this was achievable. From a technical viewpoint, the weight and overall footprint of the Isuzu rigid chassis was ideal for this detailed specification and, of course, we had the proven previous experience of the durability and reliability of the Isuzu brand in service.”
From the initial design stage, WMAS required a vehicle with the very best equipment to keep its staff safe and enable them to provide the best care, the best treatment and the best service for patients should the worst happen in the West Midlands.
Providing the role previously carried out by three separate WMAS vehicles, the Isuzu 7.5 tonne rigid truck features a custom manufactured body with slide-out side pods, which house a conference/briefing room facility, together with seating for up to 9 people. This area is also equipped with a conference table, briefing screens, video and phone conferencing units and eight operational laptop positions. A separate operational area houses two workstations with fixed PCs and peripherals, as well as a 46” interactive touchscreen that is to be used for team briefings.
Externally, the command vehicle is equipped with a ‘Sherpa’ automatic pole climbing camera delivery system, manufactured by Excelerate. The optical infra-red camera enables real-time video sharing over high signal loss areas, such as mountainous or built-up locations. Mounted on a telescopic 5m mast, this extends coverage within the incident ground and allows surveillance and transmission of high-quality images in real time over distances in excess of one kilometre.
This vehicle is equipped with an integrated on-board video server that supports the streaming of video content back to WMAS HQ, and other authorised locations, as well as allowing simultaneous displaying, recording, reviewing and exporting of images by operational staff during incident, without any loss of recording capability.
Commenting on the new WMAS Isuzu command vehicle, Keith Child, marketing director at Isuzu Truck said, “The importance of state-of-the-art emergency services vehicles cannot be understated and it has been a great pleasure and privilege for us to be involved in the development of this latest vehicle for West Midlands Ambulance Service. Flexibility and versatility have always been associated with the Isuzu marque, and never has it been demonstrated so aptly as on this latest vehicle, which houses a plethora of equipment and communications technology, as it delivers an effective emergency solution for WMAS.”