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East Lancashire rescue team’s vehicle blow
9:32am Monday 14th October 2013 in News
A VITAL mountain rescue team in East Lancashire is being forced to find new vehicles from 2015.
Jaguar Land Rover has confirmed that it will cease production of its Defender variant, which is currently the off-road vehicle of choice for the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue team.
The car manufacturer has cited the vehicle’s non-compliance with EU fuel emissions, and safety regulations, as the reason for its withdrawal.
The long-wheel version of the 4x4 off-road vehicle has been the mainstay of the voluntary emergency service team since its introduction in 1967.
Paul Durham, the team’s fundraising officer, said new Land Rovers cost around £20,000, and would then need to be fitted with a roll cage, reflective livery and the equipment racking system, costing between £15,000 and £20,000.
He said: “The problem is a lot of the teams are small charities, so funding is automatically going to be a big concern.
“It’s certainly a long-term concern, and if we don’t get it sorted soon, we will not be able to do our job properly.
“I am sure some form of bodywork modifications can be made to these alternative vehicles by their manufacturers, or coachbuilders, but I suspect these will likely be beyond the finances of most teams who are small registered charities.
“The vehicles are initially rescue equipment and team member transporters, taking them up rough tracks, and across the fell side, getting as close as possible to the casualty site.
“All the equipment is kept behind a safety cage so, in the event of an accident, it does not fly forward and injure the driver and other passengers.
“Once we’ve arrived at the casualty site, we convert it into ambulance mode by dismounting the cage to allow the casualty-loaded stretcher to be inserted.
“It’s a piece of engineering magic to fold the cage away, while ensuring the stretcher is safely locked in place, so the patient does not suffer other injuries on the descent off the hill.”
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