Surrey Fire & Rescue Service has developed a new breed of driver training vehicle based on a Scania P 320 DB4x2 chassis equipped with a Scania safety crew cab.
It 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.
"The new training vehicle is the outcome of a detailed examination of operational needs," said Rory Coulter, head of logistics for Surrey Fire & 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 EFAD [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 a front line incident support unit as and when needed.”
Based on an 18-tonne gross vehicle weight, 320 horsepower Scania chassis, the new vehicle has bodywork by Kurt Hobbs Coachwork of Kettering 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," said Coulter. "In terms of the Scania chassis and crew cab, our experience of the market has shown Scania to be a high quality, reliable product with a long life expectancy and low whole life costs.”
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, thereby 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.
Surrey Fire & Rescue Service is a long-standing user of Scania fire appliances. The Service has a total of 31 Scania vehicles in its fleet, comprising 24 water tenders, three tankers, two aerial platforms and two training vehicles.
In addition to Category C and EFAD training, Surrey Fire & 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.