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Royal Berkshire Incident Command Unit

Royal Berkshire Incident Command Unit
26th January, 2009

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service has launched the newest addition to its fleet – the Incident Command Unit (ICU) together with its sister appliance, the Multi Role Vehicle (MRV).

The state of the art unit will attend incidents across the county. It is packed full of the latest satellite and communications technology and is designed to function as a standalone command and control facility – in fact, senior officers can run Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service operations from the ICU if necessary.

The official launch took place last Friday January 23rd on the Long Walk in Windsor, by the Cambridge Gate entrance to Windsor Castle. Windsor and Maidenhead MP, Adam Afriye, Reading West MP Martin Salter and The Mayor of Windsor and Maidenhead attended the event together with the Chairman and Members of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, the Chief Fire Officer, the Deputy Chief Fire Officer, who led the ICU project, senior executives from the suppliers involved in the project and officers from other fire and rescue services.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Olaf Baars, said during the launch: “These vehicles will play a key part in ensuring that we are able to meet our statutory duty under the Civil Contingencies Act to maintain operational functionality regardless of circumstances. The multi-role vehicle will be used for community outreach work in helping us work with our communities to make them safer but it can also function as forward incident command unit and communications hub when required.

“The ICU provides a 21st-century platform for incident command, not only in terms of its technological capabilities in terms of operations but because of its capacity to act as a multi-agency command centre, linking directly to police and other emergency response organisations. I would like to thank the Fire Authority for its support for this major project and to the suppliers themselves for their hard work and commitment in developing these impressive vehicles.”

Huw Owen, business development director for WH Bence, the coachbuilder responsible for the vehicle itself, said: “As one of Europe’s leading specialist vehicle designers, we were delighted to be approached with this commission by Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue.”

“This project was enjoyable and challenging to work on, from the very start of the design process to the handing over of the vehicle itself, because this was a very demanding specification. It was essential that only the highest quality standards of build quality, fabrication and finishing were applied and the experience of our in-house teams shows in the final result.”

David Savage is chief executive of Excelerate Technology who worked with Bence on the project in equipping the new major incident command unit with a range of satellite and wireless-based technologies that enable cuttting-edge voice, data and video solutions to be rapidly deployed regardless of location.

He said: “Exclerate Technology has been responsible for some of the largest and most advanced mobile command and control vehicles for fire and rescues services throughout the UK.”

“We are pleased to have played such an active role in helping RBFRS become a leading pioneer in the development and application of innovative communications solutions for emergency planning and management applications. The Royal County of Berkshire will be one of the first regions to achieve true interoperability with sharing of information well on the way to fruition.”

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