Midhurst firefighters have received a new ‘ground-breaking’ vehicle to help them adapt to difficult terrain and weather conditions.
West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has taken delivery of what is believed to be the UK’s first specially-equipped 6x6 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
The ‘ground-breaking’ vehicle will be based at Midhurst Fire Station, where crews cover a large and relatively rural area, but it can deliver a crew of up to five firefighters to any incident in any weather across the county.
It can adapt to difficult terrain and carries a greater range of technology to help firefighters effectively deal with a wide range of incidents.
This includes ultra-high pressure (100 bar, 38 litres per minute) pumps, battery-powered hydraulic rescue gear, medical response equipment - including a defibrillator, and comprehensive communications systems.
The new 6x6 also has a 1,200-litre tank, which will allow crews to tackle difficult to reach heath or forest fires with water or foam for around half an hour before needing to refill.
It has been adapted to travel through deeper water than a standard 4x4 and can carry up to an additional 1.8 tonnes of equipment as and when specific incidents require, which can be lifted via a hoist mounted on the back.
The vehicle was developed by German specialist Oberaigner and was commissioned from local dealer Rossetts Commercials.
Kieran Amos, Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer, said: “Our new 6x6 and 4x4 vehicles give us greater flexibility than we have ever had before and represent a new concept for us, in terms of equipment carried and operational capacity.
“Most importantly, our vehicles have to meet the needs of the firefighters who will be using them and enhance the response we can provide to communities in times of need.”
The 6x6 was officially handed over by West Sussex County Council Leader Louise Goldsmith and WSCC Cabinet Member for residents’ services David Barling at County Hall, Chichester, last Friday (June 22).
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