The three new vehicles, intended to help support improved operational response for a wide variety of different types of incident, will be based throughout the large Devon and Somerset operational area, with one based at Western Command (around Plymouth), another at Central Command (around the Barnstable area) and the third in Somerset Command (around the Taunton area). The acquisition follows a successful earlier procurement of major communications upgrades, also from Excelerate Technology Group, for an Enhanced Logistical Support vehicle prior to the 2012 Olympics.
Steve Purchall, a station manager working in the Response and Resilience department of Devon and Somerset FRS, who has been closely involved with the specification and procurement of the new command vehicles, said: ‘We learnt a lot from the upgrading of our older command vehicle with new technologies prior to the Olympics, IT-wise, training-wise and operationally. We are now much more aware of what the various technologies can do and what we want from the IT. We know these solutions deliver great benefits.’
The three new command vehicles will have the full range of communications solutions provided by Excelerate Technology Group:
• Mobile satellite broadband based on the highly robust Enhanced Resilience Satellite Network, designed specifically for the emergency services and available exclusively from Excelerate;
• Wireless dual thermal rapid response and body-worn cameras (using the COFDM standard) for use in a wide variety of situations providing real-time video and situational awareness from around incident grounds and aerial platforms;
• The Digital Dashboard Management Interface (DDMI), a unique solution developed by Excelerate’s Research and Development department enabling emergency responders to concentrate on their primary roles by simplifying their use of technology and systems for optimising command and communications efficiency across the incident ground and between multiple agencies.
After acceptance testing and training the new mobile command vehicles are expected to go on the run by the end of 2013.
Commenting on Excelerate Technology Group’s successful inclusion in the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service tender, Nicola Savage, the company’s sales and marketing director said: ‘We are absolutely delighted to be working in partnership with Browns Coachworks Ltd and Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service to support the introduction of these three new mobile command vehicles featuring cutting edge satellite broadband and incident ground management applications for improved operational performance.’