Through their risk review process, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) identified the need to increase the capability of its officer-response cars. Experience in responding to inclement weather such as the Coverack floods of 2017 and the snow fall of 2018 were examples of these requirements.
Following engagement with operational response officers, an output user specification was produced, and this led to a shortlist of vehicles for consideration. A number of vehicles were evaluated with the Vauxhall Grandland being selected as the vehicle of choice.
CFRS selected the 1.5-litre diesel engine, which delivers 130PS. The vehicle also utilises the new Vauxhall ‘Intelligrip’ traction-control system, which enables the driver to select different traction-control characteristics dependent upon the terrain being driven on. The system offers five settings: normal on-road use, snow, mud, sand and ESP off.
RSG Engineering were selected as the supplier for the blue-light package, which comprised:
- 42in Aegis lightbar with integrated rear red LEDs.
- Pair of blue/white mini stealth flush-fit LED modules mounted in the front grille.
- Pair of blue Duo 1 hideaway light heads mounted into the reversing-light cluster.
- Pair of blue Micro Burst F13 light modules mounted into the inside of the boot lid.
- Gecko 6 flexible number-plate LED unit.
- Run-lock system.
- MCS 8 control unit with built-in siren driver.
Cornwall Fire and Rescue’s in-house engineering workshops carried out the necessary work to enhance the vehicles for emergency-response use. The engineering team continued to engage with and work closely with the end users and the procurement team to create a vehicle that met the needs of the response officers using the vehicles.
Lessons learned from previous vehicles and user experience determined the positioning of key additional components and meant that the fire-ground radio and subsequent charging systems were moved from the rear passenger compartment into the driver’s door pocket to make them easily accessible to the officer.
CFRS Assistant Chief Fire Officer Mark Hewitt said: ‘These vehicles represent a significant investment in our response fleet and capability. I am delighted that through the development of an end-user specification, which considered the needs of the service, the end user and the specific risks in our diverse Service area, CFRS response officers will have a vehicle that effectively meets their operational needs.’
A USB port was installed behind the dash for the charging of the interactive status mobilising and satellite-navigation systems to remove the need for charging leads running across the dashboard to the factory-fitted 12v outlet.
Additional flashing LED light heads were placed into the boot lid to provide rear warning for when the tailgate is raised and the roof-mounted light bar may be obscured.
A centrally placed single button controls all of the emergency light systems. The 999 mode enables all of the warning lights needed for responding to a call as well as arming the siren.
A second push activates the ‘Arrived at Scene’ (AAS) mode, which shuts down the front blue and white warning lights whilst leaving the 360° roof-mounted lightbar active and enabling the in-built rear red LEDs. This mode also activates the run-lock system, which allows the officer to lock the vehicle with the engine running so that they can leave the emergency warning lights on without the risk of discharging the vehicle battery.
An inhibit device has also been fitted to put the lightbar into a low-power mode and deactivate the white grille LEDs for night-time driving to reduce glare and bounce-back. This was achieved by taking a feed from the vehicle’s headlights.
The engineering team were able to complete the entire installation without the need for any additional holes or damage to the exterior of the vehicle. This includes the in-house manufacture of custom-made lightbar brackets which secure to the inside of the roof rails with the power supply entering into the vehicle on the B pillar. This approach enables the vehicles to be restored to standard specification at the end of their service life, resulting in a higher residual value for CFRS at the point of disposal from the fleet.
An additional change for CFRS has been the addition of high-conspicuity markings with all eight Vauxhall Grandlands marked up using a Battenberg design. Supplied as a pre-cut kit by Fleet ID, these markings use the latest in 3M DG3 technology. This provides compliance with the recommendations of the Department for Transport Chapter 8 guidance.
For more information, go to www.cornwall.gov.uk/fire