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Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue’s adaptable Community and Control unit.

Command and Community
10th September, 2007

The 2004 Civil Contingencies Act has had a major impact on Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue’s specialist vehicle procurement.

Olaf Baars, Royal Berkshire’s Director of Service Delivery, the requirements are clear. “We now have a statutory duty for business continuity, to continue operations regardless of physical circumstances, such as the loss of our Headquarters. I have to be able to set up wherever required, but more importantly be able to provide multi-agency working and communication.” Mast with scope

Baars• other important remit is community outreach. “Community education and fire prevention is a vital part of our work, and the hard to reach communities are often the ones most at risk. They rarely come to us, so we have to find a way to get to them.”

A Community Liaison Unit was the solution and with a large Command and Control Unit already booked for construction by Bence in 2007, the specialist coachbuilders were the obvious providers. Bence had been recommended to Baars by Emergency Services technical experts Excelerate. “I liked Bence’s approach, their competitiveness, but most of all their attitude of delivering what we want rather than telling us what we should have.”

Bence did, however, convince Baars that his community vehicle could multi-task, providing a high-spec Incident Command Unit as well, or adapt as a communications hub for a temporary headquarters.

“Frankly I was sceptical that we could get all of these functions into one small vehicle,” comments Baars. “I certainly couldn’t believe it would include full air-conditioning!”

Once again, Bence wove their automotive magic.

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