Did you know the emergency services have their own event, showcasing all the latest cars, gear and technology for police, fire and ambulance crews?
The fascinating Emergency Services Show is an annual event at Birmingham’s NEC and, this year, we attended to check out the latest trends.
The Emergency Services Show is where police, fire and ambulance crews, plus supporting operations such as Highways England, make sure they’re fully up to speed with the best gear and tech to help keep make the 999 emergency service as efficient as possible. And naturally, cars featured heavily…
Police Ford Mustang
One of the stars of the show was this police-liveried Ford Mustang. We’ve seen it before, but don’t think it’s just a show car – several forces are actually trialling the hit new Ford coupe, because of the sheer fast-car bang for buck it offers.
Police Vauxhall Astra
Admittedly, more police forces may be placing orders for the latest Vauxhall Astra, particularly as this reigning European Car of the Year is British-built. Vauxhall is one of many companies with a comprehensive special-build department catering for the needs of the emergency services.
Undercover police Land Rover Discovery Sport
Police cars don’t have to be fully-liveried, either. Check this ultra-stealthy Land Rover Discovery Sport, perfect for catching motorists unawares. Blue lights apart, there’s nothing to give away the fact it’s a cop car.
Undercover police Nissan Navara
This elderly Nissan Navara shows just how creative components suppliers can be in turning virtually any car into an undercover police car. You have been warned…
Emergency service lights
Less stealthy emergency service vehicles carry lights and, increasingly, message boards. The latest ultra-bright LED technology was on display, meaning drivers have no excuse not to miss a police, fire or ambulance vehicle on call. Seriously, these rigs, with full 360-degree coverage, are piercingly bright.
BMW 2 Series ambulance
How to make a BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer look cool? Give it full air ambulance livery. It’s not just a show car either; in the boot, the seven-seat space has been used to give it a full complement of emergency kit, such as additional batteries and communications gear.
BMW i3 fire service
The small, punchy, zero-emissions BMW i3 is a magic city car – and perhaps ideal for city-centre fire crews with an environmental conscience. BMW’s special-build emergency services division certainly seems to think so.
Volvo fire engine
It wasn’t just fire service support vehicles at the Emergency Services show, either: outside the NEC halls, the latest fire engines were on display. These days, Volvo is a big name within UK emergency services and this compact FL fire truck is a great water tender for rural services where road space is at a premium.
Oshkosh airport fire truck
In contrast to the compact Volvo is this massive Oshkosh airport fire truck. The US company’s gigantic Striker can be seen at many airports around the world; this one is from Manchester Airport.
Mercedes-Benz Unimog fire truck
Equally cool is this brilliant Mercedes-Benz Unimog, which has been given the full fire service treatment. Converted by UK firm John Dennis, how great does it look in bold red with the full blue light treatment?
British Red Cross Mercedes-Benz Unimog
The British Red Cross also has a Mercedes-Benz Unimog – which, by the looks of it, is one of the most all-terrain, go-anywhere incident control and support units on the planet. Check out those tyres!
Emergency service driver training
Of course, not everyone is allowed to drive an emergency services vehicle. Training of the forces is rightly renowned, but there are also companies out there offering specialist training to supporting services. This firm has a rather cool-looking Land Rover Freelander.
Land Rover Defender ambulance
Speaking of Land Rover, the trusty Defender has long been a stalwart of the emergency services. This one is a special go-anywhere ambulance.
Environment Agency Land Rover Defender
This one, owned by the Environment Agency, also seems to be a well-used workhorse. Now production of the Defender has stopped, what are services such as these to do? The all-new Defender can’t come soon enough – but absolutely must offer all the go-anywhere functionality emergency services rely upon.
Highways England BMW X5
It seems things are looking up for Highways England. After years of running Mitsubishi Shoguns and Land Rover Discoverys, here’s a rather plush BMW X5 liveried up in black and yellow chequerboard. The organisation is charged with keeping the motorways clear and flowing, dealing with incidents so the police can get on with catching law-breakers.
Satellite-ready BMW X5
What do you do if you need to broadcast on location? Get hold of a vehicle such as this BMW X5, which has a collapsible satellite rig built into its roof. Perfect for in-the-field communications, say the creators.
BMW C evolution
BMW’s vast special operations department has a broad array of police-ready vehicles, including this all-electric scooter that’s ideal for inner-city cops. Silent-running stealth mode comes as standard…
To contrast with the electric BMW, how about a sea-going Honda? Thanks to this specially-converted vessel, taking motorcycles across water is simple. Just the job for quick-response emergency services.
Fire and Rescue Triumph motorcycle
The Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service also uses motorcycles. It’s good to see the force supporting local manufacturing by choosing a Hinckley-built Triumph.
The fire truck…
At first glance, this looks like a conventional fire truck ladder vehicle…
… Ready to take on the NEC
…but just check out the reach of its ladder. Anyone who’s visited the massive NEC in Birmingham will know just how high this is.
Prostate cancer fire truck
Humberside Fire and Rescue Service had a fire truck with a difference on display. Instead of red, it’s finished in blue, to help promote the Prostate Cancer UK charity.
Emergency pedal power
But sometimes, no matter how much cool emergency services kit you have, you can’t beat the speed, flexibility and go-anywhere manoeuvrability of pedal power. The Emergency Services Show delivered here, too.