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Hino provides solid base for National Safety Agency prototype

A safety and technology agency conglomerate is using the Hino 700 Series as the base for the world’s most technologically advanced command control vehicle.

The National Safety Agency, in partnership with the broadband-enabled Innovation Program, the Victorian Fire Services Commissioner as well as other Victorian Government departments, has developed a prototype Emergency Services Integrated Communications (ESIC) vehicle. It is designed to handle a range of incidents and allow emergency service agencies to demonstrate their capabilities to Australia and the world.

The Hino-based ESIC vehicle has been in operation for over two years. A generator was installed behind the cabin along with a full suite of communication devices and emergency lighting upon delivery.

It provides high-capacity broadband data for use on smart devices by emergency services and command personnel, giving them real time intelligence. This enables  access to the right information to assist in events including fire, flood and terrorist attacks.

The ESIC vehicle also allows emergency services to supply consistent, up-to-date information to communities during an emergency situation, enabling effective decision-making that can save lives, infrastructure and livestock.

The motto of the ESIC vehicle throughout its development and testing has been ‘Better information to enable better decisions to deliver better outcomes to ensure a safer community’.

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National Safety Agency Chairman and President, Des Bahr, said that the Hino 700 Series base vehicle was selected for a number of reasons, with value for money at the top of the list.

“After comparing a number of different trucks on the market we found the Hino had the features we wanted and the right chassis for the best price,” Mr Bahr said.

“We also wanted a vehicle we could use globally as we needed to ensure the prime mover was readily available where potential customers are located, without requiring modifications, such as those from the Middle East and Asia.

“The Hino 700 Series was the perfect solution for what we were trying to achieve, and as an all-round product it was the most desirable for us.”

Mr Bahr said there were other features that guided the National Safety Agency towards Hino.

“It’s towing capacity is excellent, as is the 18-speed transmission. Other factors in our purchasing decision included the excellent standard safety features, resale value, performance, economy, warranty and the reputation Hino brand,” he said.

“And we’ve found that Hino’s ability to provide after-sales support around the clock is excellent. The service has been exceptional.

“We’ve driven the truck in some extreme temperatures, and found the air conditioning works well and the truck hasn’t missed a beat,” Mr Bahr said.

“On top of that, it is very comfortable to drive. The driver’s seat is exceptional.”

While the ESIC vehicle has been labelled a prototype, the emergencies it has assisted in are real. The Hazelwood Power Station and Coal Mine fire in February 2014 is one example.

The Hazelwood fire was one of the state’s largest natural disasters since Victoria’s devastating Black Sunday bushfires in 2011. It created communication network congestion, health hazards, visibility problems associated with the thick smoke, and a reduced ability to co-ordinate emergency services to address safety concerns and fight the fire.

“The ESIC vehicle assisted by providing a range of expanded communications, including satellite and WiFi, and enabled real-time intelligence sharing between the incident control team at the powerstation to the state control centre,” Mr Bahr said.

“It provided services that were not available prior to its deployment, and we received positive feedback from the agencies who experienced the benefits provided by the ESIC vehicle.”

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