England brings in anti-terrorist emergency response vehicles

A new generation of hi-tech Mobile Incident Response Vehicles is to be introduced using satellite, GSM and VoIP technology to ensure communications even if normal networks are unavailable

Each command vehicle will use mobile satellite technology to access broadband. The satellite network will be managed in real-time by Cardiff-based company Excelerate. The vehicles can be connected using a fully meshed wireless network with self-powered mesh nodes using hot swappable batteries that give up to eight-hours of use.

Voice communications are to be provided in two ways. Firstly, RapidNet Private GSM can be generated by each command vehicle to maintain communications with field-based personnel at all times without requiring service from the main network providers.

This will provide telecoms capabilities in situations where either none exist or are unavailable and eliminate the reoccurrence of the communications problems experienced during the 7/7 terrorist incident in London. Excelerate is also providing VoIP handsets on each vehicle that function as fully-featured extensions of any NHS PBX, enabling seamless communications with HQ and other locations.

Each Mobile Incident Response Vehicle (MIRV) is equipped with dual function CCTV cameras giving normal and thermal operation. Additional bodyworn cameras can be used by field personnel to transmit high quality pictures from inside buildings, tunnels or other areas where there is no line of sight as it uses the latest COFDM transmission technology. Video images are recorded locally and streamed via satellite to fully managed servers, enabling images to be viewed from any Internet-enabled location around the world.

In partnership with coachbuilder WH Bence, Excelerate has been appointed technology supplier for the contract after successfully completing a pilot scheme with London Ambulance. The vehicles would be ordered by local authorities as well as police, fire and ambulance services.

The first vehicles will be supplied to West Midlands, West Yorkshire and Merseyside NHS Ambulance Trusts. Each set will comprise three vehicles, one main incident response unit with sophisticated command and communications equipment plus two CBRN response vehicles carrying all the necessary specialist equipment.

Image: NHS Ambulance Trusts are among the first adopters of the new Mobile Incident Response Vehicles

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