It is part fire engine, part ambulance.
And the new TELSTAR, designed and built in Elland, could change the face of emergency vehicles across the country.
The dual purpose vehicle from the Terberg DTS Fire & Rescue design team is based on the extra-long wheelbase Mercedes Sprinter 5 tonne chassis, and provides both fire fighting and rescue capability.
Designed to carry four crew, it houses specialist fire fighting equipment including a high pressure pump, 60m hose reel and 500 litres of water, together with full breathing apparatus and cutting equipment.
And at the rear of the vehicle is a fully compliant ambulance compartment, manufactured to meet latest standards and housing all medical support requirements.
A full capability triage area with piped oxygen, airflow management and equipment power supplies provides a place for treating patients and if required transporting them to medical facilities or helicopter landing sites. Wide doors provide easy access with the latest self-loading stretchers.
Terberg DTS, based at the Lowfields Business Park, Elland, says that in ‘a period of continuing austerity and reduced funding, working more collaboratively will be essential in the delivery of value for money services and providing a better emergency service to the public’.
The new vehicle has been successfully trialled in a pilot scheme by a fire authority in southern England and a second trial will begin in the spring.
Comments from emergency workers who have used it include: “We attended an RTC and used the ambulance section. It was a great ‘safe haven’t.”
Another said: “It’s cutting two to three minutes off our response times. Brilliant for narrow country lanes. It’s so quick on scene that it allows our fire fighters to advise other respondents of the situation.”
A spokeswoman for Terberg DTS said: “It is a concept that has been very successful in some other countries, such as the US and New Zealand.
“It’s a vehicle that can act as a first response to an incident, and the trials have gone very well.
“With an increased focus on patient response times and a significant increase in the number of call outs requiring combined fire service and ambulance response, TELSTAR is uniquely designed to provide both fire service and full first response ambulance support capability.”