At the start of the month, on a cold winter’s morn, members of the NWPCCC team set about installing covert lighting and sirens into one of their private vehicles. Far from the usual type of response vehicle, this one still has more than enough performance to match the complete lighting package waiting for installation.
The installation, as always, is all about keeping the responding vehicle visible at all times. All-weather visibility is no easy means, but it’s made much simpler with the high-performance lighting systems from Whelen Engineering. Compact, bright and easy to install, these are the best lights available.
Getting the vehicles apart, installing the control modules and fitting the lights is not for the faint-hearted. Fortunately, the team is lucky enough to work with experienced automotive engineers willing to travel and work for Haribo and Maoam.
We’re not at the usual garage for this installation. Unfortunately, the weather forecast was for rain. However, we’ve been kindly lent a barn for the day, which should be long enough to install the full covert light package.
The crack team of installers are getting pretty good at setting up NWPCCC responders cars. However, it still takes a bit of planning to order all the parts and get everyone together. For this installation, we are using a controller from Woodway Engineering. Based in Coventry, the team at Woodway have been tremendously supportive over the years.
Along with getting all the parts together, there is a lot of customisation required for each car. You never quite know what you’re going to get. The team have a lot of experience with rusty and snapped bolt extraction. Also pretty happy with drilling holes in new cars.
As with any thirty-year-old car, some of the old wiring is a little suspect and gets tidied up along the way. It’s also pretty normal now to install hardwire kits for dashcams while the car is apart. As these are privately owned vehicles, there’s a lot of thought that goes into minimising damage and being able to get parts off for servicing.
It’s very much a team effort with tasks split between whoever is nearby. There is always a need for another cuppa while figuring out if a light should be wired with a blue wire or red wire. Some are better with electrics, and some are better with power tools.
Pretty soon, it all comes together, and there are more parts going on than coming off. Each section of lights is tested as they are put on the car, so we’re pretty confident it will work once we get to the end of the installation.
The Final Result
After a long days graft, the car is back together, all the lights are in, and we have another responder back on the road. It’s tough to put into words how much of an impact good emergency lighting has on being able to respond safely. They’re certainly not just for show.
Unfortunately, my photography (and photoshop) skills leave a lot to be desired. These few pictures don’t do justice to how highly visible and prominent the covert lights are.
And hopefully, you’ll never have to see them on the road!