Saanich’s police and fire departments will soon have a brand-new incident command vehicle that will make responding to emergencies much easier.
On Monday council approved the purchase of an $828,600 mobile command unit, which will be jointly shared between police and fire.
“It’s got every technology, every communication tool they need. It’s a mobile police and fire station right on site,” said Mayor Frank Leonard.
The truck – which would be built like a fire truck, only with rooms and computers throughout – will replace an old school bus, owned by Saanich fire, that is currently hauled out to serious incidents.
“That one’s not decked out with radios or rooms or much electronics,” Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen said. “It really just provides a warm, dry place that keeps officers out of the weather.”
Leonard says the other benefit of having a top-of-the-line mobile command unit is it will be incredibly useful in the event of a large earthquake.
“We will need to set up a mobile command in the eastern half of Saanich – they won’t have to drive back and forth across the municipality,” he said. “This (purchase) is part of our emergency earthquake preparedness.”
Saanich fire Chief Mike Burgess calls council’s decision to approve the purchase the command unit a “positive step forward for the municipality.”
“The existing unit is limited to radio technology only. We’ll be able to transfer all our phones into the new unit, we’ll have wireless Internet, computer capability, so we can remotely log into our dispatch and records management systems, as well as being able to set up our site command systems,” Burgess said.
The vehicle will be jointly shared by the police and fire departments, but Burgess says there’ll be opportunities available for other departments – like public works and engineering – to take advantage of the mobile technology.
Council approved the replacement of the bus in February. The police and fire departments then collaborated to develop specifications for the vehicle. In August Saanich put out a request for proposals.
Safetek Emergency Vehicles, representing SVI Trucks Inc., was awarded the contract.
Leonard says money has been put aside from both the police and fire budgets to pay for the vehicle.
The mobile command vehicle is expected to have an operational life span of 25 years.