Cheshire Search and Rescue (SAR) has recently taken delivery of a specially converted, 4-wheel drive search and rescue unit, developed to strengthen their emergency services support activities in and around Cheshire.
The vehicle is based on a high-roof, long-wheel based, 4×4 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and is already creating significant interest from a number of emergency services across the UK. It was 12 months in the design, planning and conversion stages to ensure it was finished and specified to meet the exacting needs of highly demanding search and rescue operations. Sprinter was the client’s chassis of choice based on its versatility, off-road performance and manoeuvrability. Simon Morley of Cartwright Conversions worked closely with the local Mercedes-Benz dealer to acquire the appropriately equipped chassis, whilst working alongside his in-house design and electrical specialists to evolve a conceptual idea into what is believed to be the UK’s most advanced and versatile vehicle of its kind.
Not only does the vehicle have to contend with some of the toughest off-road terrain and adverse weather conditions – any time day or night – it doubles up as a mobile work unit and control hub, where the volunteer workers are in close and personal contact with the emergency services and the families of missing persons.
The driver and front passenger seats are 360O swivel options, which rotate to transform a mobile unit into a working environment. The rear of the vehicle – accessed through side and rear doors – is fitted out with a table, bench, large storage area, two workstations and a stretcher. A roof top mounted satellite dish, wi-fi connectivity and a large, internal panel-mounted monitor ensure optimum communication at all times.
Cheshire Search and Rescue – in its 12th year – is a charitable organisation run by highly trained volunteers who are on call 24/7/365. As members of the Association of Lowland Search and Rescue, they train and work with local mountain rescue teams as well as assist Cheshire Police and other statutory emergency services in locating and rescuing of missing persons.
“The team at Cartwright Conversions has been absolutely superb. Everything we wanted to achieve they found a way to make it happen. We were heavily involved in the planning stages, which were critical to the functionality of the finished product, but once the design had been agreed, we left it to them and we have been delighted with their speed and attention to detail.” Mark Susca MSc, Deputy Team Leader, Cheshire Search and Rescue.