Q: Alisdair, what is the current thinking behind the new vehicle products at Terberg?
AC: In the ever changing world that we now live in none of us are immune from change, neither do we want to miss out on the opportunity to learn, develop and make best use of new and innovative concepts and ideas. We often see solutions and work on projects which are either out of our financial capabilities or are unworkable in our own environments. Over the 150 year history of Terberg and its subsidiary companies we have had the opportunity to view a global customer base and to engage with many innovative ideas, desires and specialist projects. Terberg DTS through its relationship with its customers often sees similar concepts being discussed and tries, where possible, to share those experiences, knowledge and desires.
Q: How was the Telstar vehicle developed?
AC: This desire for shared knowledge brought about the birth of the Telstar concept vehicles. Terberg DTS identified multiple agencies who are striving to engage in the new emergency services environment of joint collaboration and budgetary constraints. It became clear early on that the fire services had achieved fantastic results with the proactive nature of their activities which have dramatically reduced the number of fire incidents in the UK. At the same time, a number of fire services were developing co-responding arrangements with Ambulance Trusts on a local arrangement basis, which was clearly making a difference within the communities where these projects were being utilised.
Q: Can you explain the Telstar concept?
AC: Having presented the Telstar concept to a number of fire services, from a drawing board perspective in late 2014, it was apparent that it would be more appropriate to actually design, manufacture and make available to the services a fully functional concept vehicle as this new vehicle was a radical change to what had been seen before. With the risk of a fire station losing a second appliance, being replaced by a coresponder car meant that the fire service had lost a capability asset. Terberg DTS felt that the fire services required the retention of a firefighting asset whilst still being able to deliver an additional and flexible co-responding capability.
Q: So what are the main features and benefits of Telstar?
AC: Watching closely the growing market for smaller, compact vehicles such the West Midlands Toyota BRV’s and Devon & Somerset’s 10 tonne IVECO units we were able to identify a cross-over point in capability requirement which resulted in the design of the firefighting compartment. In installing a 500 litre water tank, the Hale HPX 75 pump and a 60 metre 22 mm hose-reel the vehicle very quickly had a unique capability on scene. The innovative design of the rear compartment to house two additional crew meant that the vehicle could, if required, respond with a 4 person crew; allowing a broad spectrum capability. It is perceived that the clinical compartment on the Telstar would allow first responders and trained medical staff to provide an excellent level of care in a safe haven whilst crews carried on, if required, with other tasks. Whilst the vehicle is fully compliant and capable and moving casualties it was not envisaged that this would be its role during the early stages of its evolution. However, it was felt that this capability would be extremely useful in the localised transportation of patients to helicopter landing sites, especially in rural areas. It is not just rural areas where opportunities have been identified for the Telstar, urban environments where the unit is assisting primarily co-responding or first responding activities whilst still providing firefighting capability for the large percentage of small incidents such as car fires, waste fires and rapid response first on-scene vehicles.
Q: So what does Telstar give to the Fire Service?
AC: Terberg DTS sees the potential for the cost of the Telstar unit to be shared between fire services and ambulance trusts with the capital cost being a dramatic reduction on the costs of historical vehicle procurement. The number of ambulances that are used for relatively minor patient transport activities to hospital could easily be replaced with the Telstar unit thus affording dramatic cost savings; whilst the fire services are retaining a highly effectively asset for a relatively small budgetary figure compared to their historical expenditures.
Q: What’s been the initial reaction to Telstar?
AC: Initial trials of the vehicle have proved to be very successful and it is clear that with the design of the rear compartment having the flexibility to be reconfigured, many of the future roles required for the multi-agency approach to collaboration can be addressed with this Telstar concept vehicle.
Q: Telstar follows on from Terberg’s TACR vehicle, what’s the latest news on this vehicle?
AC: Terberg’s style of innovation and solution driven activities also led to the development of the Tactical Airfield Crash Rescue vehicle (TACR3). With the pending demise of the Land Rover Defender and the development of the Range Rover luxury vehicle range the small airfield and military market sectors had lost a traditional vehicle platform. This platform has served them all successfully for over 30 years. As the airfield regulator CAA undertook its own dramatic changes a need to develop a new vehicle was identified by Terberg DTS and its partner Pickup Systems who had developed the plastic bodied BRV solution for a number of local authority fire services. Through careful design, collaboration and utilisation of innovative products and the successful Hale HPX pump Terberg DTS were able to deliver a new category 2 airfield vehicle on a 3,500 kg chassis carrying 700 litres of water and all other necessary media and equipment to satisfy requirement. Having been successfully built on both the Toyota and Isuzu chassis the vehicle has now become extremely desirable within many industrial sectors including power stations, car plants and more recently construction sites. The operating costs and the simplicity of the unit attracts its customers, especially when Terberg DTS are happy to hire or lease the vehicles over pre-determined contract periods as well as the willingness to reconfigure the vehicle, within its weight restrictions, to that required by the end user.
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