Showcasing greener emergency vehicles

Electric and hybrid vehicles for the emergency services are set to be a more prominent feature than ever at this year’s Emergency Services Show, on 20-21 September at Birmingham’s NEC

Emergency and rescue vehicles of virtually every type, including fire appliances, ambulances, fleet cars, motorbikes, boats and drones will be on display throughout the indoor and outdoor exhibition areas at The Emergency Services Show taking place at Hall 5 in the NEC, Birmingham on 20 and 21 September.

It is the perfect place to research the latest innovations, products and services responsible for specifying and procuring vehicles and fleet equipment for the emergency services and allied organisations. Electric and hybrid drive vehicles for the emergency services are set to be a more prominent feature than ever this year.

Greener vehicles

Leading vehicle suppliers at the show include BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Volvo Trucks, as well as a wide range of chassis manufacturers and specialist vehicle converters. BMW will be exhibiting a strong line-up of electric and hybrid range extender vehicles with a marked BMW i3 94Ah AC REx NHS specification Rapid Response Vehicle, a marked BMW i3 94Ah AC REx Fire & Rescue Incident Response Vehicle, and a new model BMW G30 530d xDrive AC Touring Roads Policing Unit.

The BMW i3 94Ah AC REx (Range Extender) is an electrically‑propelled vehicle with the advantage of a 649cc petrol engine that generates electricity to charge the vehicle propulsion battery. The CO2 emissions from the small engine are ultra-low.

As an extreme example the i3 REx can be driven from Exeter to Edinburgh without having to recharge the propulsion battery (the driver will need to refill the petrol tank.)This might not be likely for a 999 response, but it does highlight the flexibility of this model. The larger battery of the 94Ah model gives drivers the ability to travel up to 125 miles on a single charge and 206 miles with the range extender.

Fire fighters

Fire appliances will be on show from Emergency One, Volvo Trucks and John Dennis, as well as the latest generation of smaller incident vehicles from the likes of Iveco. In the outside area Emergency One will be demonstrating the Magirus M32L-AT turntable ladder featuring a telescopic 5-section ladder with a 32‑metre working height. Primetech will exhibit its latest demountable MultiPod + system for pick-up vehicles with the Cobra high pressure lance-based firefighting system.

Volvo Trucks will display the new FL816 appliance in the livery of West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS). It is powered by Volvo’s Euro-6 compliant D8K280 engine with 280bhp and 1,050Nm of torque and matched to an Allison 3000 series automatic transmission with integral retarder.

This Volvo FL complements the Volvo FE range, which is becoming an increasingly popular, versatile product as both a water tanker and aerial platform in 4x2 and 6x2 configurations. At 18-tonnes as a 4x2, with engine options of 280bhp, 320bhp and 350bhp and the Allison fully‑automatic transmission, it makes an ideal chassis for a water tender.

Terberg DTS Fire & Rescue Division will be showcasing its range of fire and rescue equipment including Leader PPV fans and thermal imaging cameras. It will also be profiling its Oshkosh ARFF and TACR3 & TACR4 Rapid Response Vehicles.

West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS), in partnership with various vehicle manufacturers, will provide visitors with specialist information on the latest rescue tool equipment, new vehicle technology, high strength steel, airbags, SRS, hybrid and full electric vehicles and road safety. Its displays will include a Virtual Reality video and goggles being used by their Road Casualty Reduction Team to educate drivers about road safety.


Among the many ambulance suppliers exhibiting are AMZ Vehicles, BAUS AT and WAS UK. Ambulance converter BAUS AT will demonstrate its new British Red Cross vehicle.

The WAS Fiat lightweight modular box A&E vehicle offers a perfect solution to the restrictions of a panel van. The vehicle has 20 per cent more interior workspace than a panel van but the gross vehicle weight is 6.5 per cent lighter, which improves fuel economy and enables bariatric capability with a pay load of 850kg. WAS heavy duty dual rear doors are capable of mounting medical equipment and the sliding side door offers access to response bags and allows for the emergency removal of the stretcher.

There is also the option for external lockers to provide quick and easy access to essential equipment without having to enter the vehicle. An integrated side step offers easier access to the vehicle with reduced height, this mitigates the risk of VOR that is linked to the underslung step. It also reduces the risk of accidental injury to both crew and patient.

With the WAS modular box’s internal width that’s 100mm greater than the van, layout options are far more versatile and patient comfort is enhanced. The extra width allows for a carry chair to be loaded without stowing away the forward-facing saloon seats.

Also on display will be the all new WAS VW Crafter-based ambulance, based on the ultramodern VW Crafter. Different versions of weight classes, motors, manual and automatic gear and chassis facilitate the adaptation of the base vehicle to customers’ special requirements.

The new integrated WAS Design warning light bar is available for the VW Crafter only, for the time being. The improved visibility from the front and from the side lays the foundation for the new WAS box body design. The light bar can be adapted to all box body widths and heights. WAS options available include WAS Door Assist, the WAS Multi-Load Assist, WAS SanSafe and WAS Smart Check, which make it easier, safer and more ergonomic to work with the ambulance.

Lithium battery technology

WAS will also display its new lithium battery technology which offers more than 50 per cent weight saving compared to the current GEL and AGM solutions. The lithium battery also lasts ten times longer than conventional lead acid set up and charges ten times quicker. Its compact plug and play design offers a space saving advantage and the batteries are fully configurable to meet the power needs of a frontline ambulance. The individual lithium tubes are easy to replace and fully recyclable.

Nielsen Chemicals and Zenith Hygiene Group (ZHG) will be promoting their ambulance cleaning services, which free up valuable paramedic time and skills to enable them to concentrate on core medical emergency tasks.

Excelerate will be demonstrating a range of surveillance and communications equipment on its stand including the Sherpa portable camera that can climb lamp-posts, the Proclux long range camera which can be used in harsh and challenging environments and a Command Pod deployable resilient data network to facilitate live camera and data streams within the incident ground.

All the latest equipment

Visitors will be able to see and handle the latest kit and discuss needs with all suppliers. Exhibitors include leading names in rescue equipment, protective clothing and uniforms, vehicles, high visibility livery, lightbars, scene lighting, vehicle equipment and accessories including: Beeswift, Bristol Uniforms, Ilasco/Keela, Scott Safety, Orafol, Wolf Safety, Niton999, Rig Equipment and RSG Engineering.

REMA, the Retroreflective Equipment Manufacturers Association will be staging a special dark display in the exhibition entitled From Dusk till Dawn to highlight the life‑saving capabilities of retroreflective products including cones, reflecting road studs, flashing lamps, temporary signs and mannequins wearing PPE. Visitors will be able to interact with the display using hand held light sources.

Extrication Challenge

WMFS will be running a realistic and exciting Extrication Challenge at the show this year. The challenge will provide an arena for some of the UK’s best rescue personnel to come together and develop their proficiency levels in all areas of road traffic collision rescue but specifically in incident command and control, safety and scene assessment, extrication, professional pre-hospital care and expert use of rescue equipment.

Supported and judged by the United Kingdom Rescue Organisation (UKRO), the RTC scenarios will include a car on its wheels, a car on its side and a car on its roof. Vehicles will have heavy and complex damage (simulating a significant RTC) along with a ‘live’ casualty trapped inside. There will also be other vehicles or props making the scenarios more realistic. Spectators will have the opportunity to get close to the action, just a few metres from the simulation.

Cutting tool demonstration

UKRO will also be running a demonstration of space creation and practical cutting techniques, giving visitors a good basic understanding of how cutting and spreading tools work on vehicles. The demonstration will cover correct operator positioning, the principles of cutting, tackling door hinges and how to use small tools in confined internal spaces. Attendees will also receive guidance on how to avoid some of the most common mistakes operators make when using cutters, spreaders and combi tools.

Road safety theatre seminars

Collaborative and efficient working will be key themes across all the seminar programmes, where the Federation of Vehicle Recovery Associations will be talking about the expertise, knowledge and resources of road recovery firms and how they can assist the emergency services at the scene of a road traffic collision.

The Association of Air Ambulances will present on how the roll out of All Lanes Running Highways impacts on all emergency services, rescue and recovery organisations, from egress and exit to an
RTC or incident to landing an air ambulance.

Devon & Somerset FRS will present a new motorbike and road safety educational toolkit. An experienced Community First Responder will highlight the dangers within a vehicle that can impact how rescuers respond to incidents.

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