UK ambulance service introduces 'mobile, mini headquarters'

The new vehicle has a briefing room, laptop positions and CCTV cameras

BRIERLEY HILL, England — The West Midlands Ambulance Service introduces a new specially built vehicle to respond to large, serious and major incidents.

The vehicle, called Ambulance Service Command Unit, cost about $670,000 and is likened to a "mobile, mini headquarters".

The unit will be sent to major incidents such as a plane, railway or multi-vehicle motorway crash, or something more prolonged such as flooding.

Photo courtesy of West Midlands Ambulance Service

It will be a base for the ambulance service’s commanders at the scene for the duration of the incident.

The vehicle is based on a 8-ton 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.

Screens inside the vehicle can 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.

On the outside of the vehicle, there is a large video screen for team briefings, and there is also a live satellite link to the ambulance service’s main headquarters and weather monitoring information.

"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," Trust Chief Executive Anthony Marsh said.

(Photo courtesy of West Midlands Ambulance Service)

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