In the UK, Surrey Fire and Rescue Service has developed a new breed of driver training vehicle in association with truck maker Scania and Kettering-based converter Kurt Hobbs Coachworks.
Based on a P 320 DB4x2 chassis, equipped with a Scania safety crew cab, the bespoke-built truck has the capacity to fulfil three separate roles – conventional truck training, fire appliance training, and the ability to function as an incident support unit when required.
Surrey’s investment in the new vehicle represents a considerable long-term saving, as well as dispensing with the need to tie up the Service’s front-line appliances for training purposes.
“The new training vehicle is the outcome of a detailed examination of operational needs,” comments Rory Coulter, Head of Logistics for Surrey Fire and Rescue Service. “Previously, we relied on a regular truck for Category C training with trainees then progressing to one of our front-line fire appliances for Emergency Fire Appliance Driver training. Now, one truck serves both purposes, with the added bonus that we have an additional vehicle which can be used as am incident support unit when needed.”
Based on an 18-tonne, 320 horsepower Scania chassis, the new vehicle has bodywork by Kurt Hobbs Coachwork, with the build project overseen by Scania dealer TruckEast of Wellingborough.
“TruckEast have a well-deserved reputation as a specialist appliance supplier to the fire industry and were therefore a natural choice for the project management role here,” added Coulter.
The five-seat Scania crew-cab, which is of all-steel construction for maximum safety in operation, is equipped with five seats. A computer and monitor is located in front of the three rear seats allowing this area of the vehicle to be used as a mobile training room, saving time as instruction can be given to trainees without the need to return to the classroom.
The truck’s box body can carry eight 1,000-litre IBCs (Intermediate Bulk Containers), six of which are filled with water to simulate realistic operating conditions. At the rear, the body has standard doors with an internal securing mechanism to provide a clear area for graphics and safety messages.
In addition to Category C and EFAD training, Surrey Fire and Rescue Service’s training is the first within the fire industry to be accredited by the Institute of Advanced Motorists. This enables successful trainees to gain automatic membership to the Institute. The Service not only provides driver training for its employed fire fighters and On Call fire fighters who express an interest in developing their driving skills, but also holds a number of contracts to train drivers from other emergency services.