Search team discovers advantages of Sprinter12 July 2010

A specially designed Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 313CDI Long has been deployed as a mobile command and control centre for the Staffordshire Search & Rescue Team (SSART).

Developed using a £50,000 grant from the National Lottery, the van was converted by VCL of Crewe, after being supplied by Stoke-on-Trent dealer Enza.

The off-road Sprinter sits higher than its standard counterpart – by 110mm at the front and 80mm at the rear. It employs rear-wheel drive for the road, but also has the option of all-wheel drive away from the tarmac.

Inside, a fully equipped communications station allows members of the team to keep in touch with colleagues via radio and track their progress using satellite GPS.

The onboard generator also provides power for hot drinks and food during incidents, while the Sprinter's large rear storage area carries a stretcher and throw lines, as well as first aid equipment.

"We chose the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 for its combination of load space and carrying capacity, and its all-wheel drive capability," says SSART chairman Mark Walker.

"It was also recommended by one of our team members, who had worked with Sprinters previously. He was adamant that it's the best vehicle for the job, in terms of reliability and durability."

John Challen

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