Thursday 24th September 2015 – 5.10pm – Chris Kowalik.
West Midlands Ambulance Service has a brand new specially-built vehicle with the latest, state-of-the-art technology to deal with large, serious and major incidents.
Unveiled yesterday at the Emergency Services Show at the National Exhibition Centre and costing £440,000, the Ambulance Service Command Unit was likened to a ‘mobile mini headquarters’ that would be sent to cases such as a plane, railway or multi-vehicle motorway crash, or something more prolonged such as flooding anywhere in the region.
It would be a base for the ambulance service’s commanders at the scene for the duration of the incident.
Pictures: West Midlands Ambulance Service
The vehicle is based on a 7.5 tonne Isuzu chassis with custom slide-out pods, its own briefing room with seating for up to nine people, conference table, briefing screens, laptop positions and video and phone conferencing. It is capable of accommodating not only ambulance service commanders but also those of other emergency services to help them collectively manage the incident better.
Screens inside the vehicle would show live pictures from CCTV cameras, a camera perched on an extendable pole and body cameras worn by Hazardous Area Response Team paramedics from within the incident ‘hot-zone’ where only those with protective clothing and equipment can enter. On the outside of the vehicle, there is a large screen for briefings to be held. There is also a live satellite link to the ambulance service’s main headquarters and weather monitoring information such as precipitation, wind speed and direction which is important for a chemical incident.
It will be from the Command Unit at the scene using data from its raft of equipment that real-time decisions about the handling of the situation would be made. It also means the incident can be managed separately from the day-to-day 999 cases that would be left with the ambulance service’s control rooms in Brierley Hill and Stafford to continue to deal with as normal.
Before cutting the ribbon at the Emergency Services Show at the NEC on Wednesday 23rd September, Trust Chief Executive Anthony Marsh said: “It is really important for me and all of our Board that we have the very best equipment to keep our staff safe and enable them to provide the best care, the best treatment and the best service for our patients should the worst happen in the West Midlands.”