R39 CJS Isuzu Midi Appliance

R39 CJS Isuzu Midi Appliance


Appliance Registration Make / Model Type Current Vehicle Status
Midi Fire Appliance
Northern Branch

By now the Engineering department had taken a major step forward in the design and manufacture of a 6.2 tonne ‘Midi’ fire appliance incorporating a number of innovative features, this appliance constituted a new approach to the design of compact fire appliances. Unlike others, it was not a scaled down or lightened version of a Type ‘B’ water tender but a fully competent fire appliance in its own right designed from the outset for the environment in which it is intended to operate and providing virtually all of the fire and rescue facilities expected of the more expensive Type ‘B’By 1997 Highland and Islands Fire Brigade’s own Engineering Workshops in Seafield Road, Inverness had converted 36 light vans into fire appliances.

Carrying a Driver, Station Officer and four firefighters along with full BA equipment, 1000 litres of water, 6 lockers of equipment and a full complement of ladders these appliances were the “real deal”.

Supplied to Highland and Islands Fire Brigade by Baillie Brothers of Elgin R39CJS a 6.2 tonne ISUZU NPR Chassis Cab was to be the basis for first of these vehicles to be built. Appliance building work was undertaken in the HIFB’s Seafield Road workshops and R39 was to be equipped with a Whittaker’s of Stoke on Trent crew cab and fire appliance bodywork supplied in kit form by Emergency One of Cumnock. All construction, vehicle preparation and paintwork were undertaken in the brigade’s Inverness workshops.

Innovative features included the flexibility of a self-contained Alcon main pump which could be readily removed for use as a portable pump. This saved the expense of a Power Take Off or main driveline transfer box and therefore did not compromise on road performance. The construction of the body was designed to complement the ISUZU chassis using aluminium extrusion and rigidised aluminium sheeting. This method of construction optimised weight distribution and consequently handling and safety.

Two prototype camera systems were installed on the appliance as a test bed to illustrate how CCTV could be used as an aid to fire and rescue operations. The digital telephone system which Highlands and Islands Development Board encouraged British Telecom to establish through the highlands was seen as the potential platform to relay video information to the Command and Control Centre (adjacent to the Inverness Workshops). Based on the “a picture tells a thousand words” theory it was hoped this facility either through its roof mast based camera or the hand held camera carried on the appliance images could allow senior officers to view an incident remotely allowing advice and support to be passed to crew in attendance. This was thought to be of significant benefits to crews based at remote stations who may have not had the full levels of training afforded their fulltime colleagues. It was hoped that if successful this technology would be rolled out as a feature on all front line appliances.

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