I'm not perfect.
I arrived at work to find that my FRU car was nowhere to be seen. There was no-one on the early shift, so where had my car gotten too?

Last week a friend of mine had an accident in the Newham FRU car (in front of a load of police officers, which gave them some amusement I would imagine). So the car that I would normally use was being borrowed by Poplar station.

So the plan was for me to get picked up at my station by a station officer, then I would get the keys to the brand new Vauxhall Zafira. I'd thgen return to my station and start working.

The station officer met me and drove me down to Newham station. He asked me that, because I was leaving my secondment on the FRU, if I could write up my thoughts on what was good, bad and what could be improved about it.

I told him that this blog would answer most of those questions.

The brand new Zafira was parked in the garage at Newham, so I hopped behind the wheel and after some struggling with the new design of handbrake, managed to reverse it out of the garage and into the parking area.

Where to the absolute horror of the Station officer I drove into another car.


Luckily there was no damamge to the Zafira (which has less than 600 miles on the clock) and very slight, if any, damage to the private car.

The first accident I've had in over 18 months and it's in front of a station officer…

Not a good start to the shift.

My thoughts on the Zafira are this – if you wanted a rapid response vehicle, the Zafira shouldn't have been chosen. It's top heavy and wallows like a hippo in thick mud. The acceleration is awful, you hit the pedal and it takes one and a half seconds before the diesel engine gives you any sort of power. It is comfortable to pootle around town in, and the high up viewing position is quite nice.

But there is no way that it could be considered a 'Fast' car.

I think the reason why we have them, is because they are able to carry patients, and I imagine that soon FRU drivers will be asked to take the coughs and colds that we see so much of of to hospital.

I am tired, and in an incredibly bad mood after this shift. I'll explain more when I can motivate myself to write about it.

14 thoughts on “Zafira”

  1. Know how you feel mate, I backed my bus into an other bus in the bus station right in front of a controller. Well I was running late.

  2. There had to be at least one in the service to do it, sadly it was your turn this time. I backed one of the mercs into a lamp post when they were brand new and put a huge dent in the back pillar. It was there for well over a year before they sent it off to be repaired.Needless to say I was not flavour of the month for that

  3. Well, with the exception of maybe damaging a mates car, I wasn't bothered at all. I mean accidents happen and my low speed in a dark, crowded area minimised the consequence of any error on my part.When they first came out, I was with someone who forgot that Mercs were a little taller than the white ones – and took out most of the bluelights reversing under a balcony…


  4. And to be honest, they should be grateful I haven't put the FRU though a chip shop window…Reynolds crosses his fingers

  5. Tom, if you had moved the MDT screen by pulling the top of the screen forward you would have found the sports mode switch behind (and the central locking switch). This significantly improves acceleration. I think the second generation Zafira is a vast improvement on the first version, it feels alot more stable through corners and pulls up a lot better too. Plus you can see out of the back as you don't (currently, they may be adding one) have that oversized and uneccessary equipment cage in the boot.

  6. Perhaps they should give you all Subaru Imprezza estates or something?!? I had to laugh listening to the radio yesterday afternoon they said that they were deploying a mini-bus in the west end on Saturday night to ferry the drunks to hospital, then tried to give an excuse for it, as if it were a bad thing. I mean seriously, if you're that drunk would you notice if you're in an ambulance or a mini-bus? I doubt it. They should be leaving the ambulances to go to proper calls.

  7. I'm a bit baffled here. 1. Why would the FRU (Cat 'A's only) be sent to 'coughs and colds'? 2. Why would you even consider conveying someone with a cough or a cold to A&E? Aren't you just blocking the dept. with people who shouldn't be there?

  8. Is that where it is? I spent most of last night trying to find a sports mode on it…While it does feel a bit more stable than the older Zafiras, after 18+ months oof driving an Astra it still feels awful.

  9. No, the Zafias can be used by emergency paramedic practitioners as UTI taxis.The LAS is thinking about giving pregnant women a taxi voucher, and an incontience pad for the seat, so that they don't call an ambulance (which costs 109 for each call)…

  10. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA….You've not been reading this blog long, have you?

    Essentially, a 'cough' becomes 'severe difficulty in breathing', which makes it a high priority call. Which means I get to race through the streets for someone with sniffles.

    For example, I went to a 40 year old male with a sore throat last night… Given to the call taker as 'difficulty in breathing'.

  11. Hi AlisonFRUs get sent to coughs and colds because when the question “Are they breathing normally?” is asked, the answer is nvariably no – probably because they're coughing, sneezing, got a snotty nose etc. This then makes the call a Cat A and we get it as Severe Respiratory Distress.

    We can't refuse to convey people – even if all thats wrong with them is they've got a cold, therefore in those circumstances, it's better to cancel the full ambulance, and convey these timewasters in the car. They think they'll get seen quicker because they've been brought in by the ambulance service – it's great seeing the looks on their faces when they get sent into the waiting room.

  12. I'm also seen them at A&E under their own 'steam', only to get fed up and go home to call an ambulance because they thought it would bump them in the queue. Now that was funny to see and hear 🙂 Needless to say, they spent even longer waiting…

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