Blues and twos ...
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Vienna-Neudorf's volunteer fire brigade: safely on the road with the Econic recovery vehicle.

"Overturned van on the A2 near Vienna. One person trapped." From this point on, every second counts for Vienna-Neudorf's volunteer fire brigade. The volunteer rescuers rush into the fire station, don their uniforms and start up the vehicles. Accompanying them on their shout today: a brand new Mercedes-Benz Econic recovery vehicle which was specially developed for precisely this type of operation.

 

No two emergencies are alike.

"We're responsible for a 25-km stretch of the southbound motorway, as well as a section of the south-eastbound motorway and a large part of the Vösendorf motorway interchange. We get called out around 250 times a year to deal with road traffic accidents and vehicle recoveries," explains Station Commander Walter Wistermayer. "But despite that, shouts like this never become routine."

Time and again, in addition to recovering vehicles and securing the accident site, the volunteer rescuers also have to rescue people, free injured people from their vehicles and, in rare cases, even recover fatally injured victims. "This means that no two calls are ever the same, and we also have to deal with extremely challenging situations regularly," reports Walter Wistermayer.

In order to be best equipped for these types of operations, the Vienna-Neudorf volunteer fire brigade purchased a new recovery vehicle (or ASP as they call it) based on a Mercedes-Benz Econic 2635 in autumn 2020 as a replacement for their 18-year-old Mercedes-Benz Atego 1323L. The three-axle vehicle – which sports a steered trailing third axle and a special body from Eberl – is powered by a six-cylinder diesel engine with an output of 354 hp (260 kW) and, thanks to its remote-controlled recovery platform and rear-mounted wheel lifts, it forms an integral part of the fire service's technical line-up.

Equipped for every eventuality.

Stowed away in the large pull-out drawers of the Econic's nine equipment compartments are special tools and items of equipment, including lashing materials, sliding chocks, manoeuvring rollers, oil binding agent and a vehicle jack. Also part of the recovery equipment is a compressed-air hose reel and special retaining bars on the body for securing single-track motor vehicles (e.g. motorcycles, mopeds). Good for the environment: the completely sealed platform allows leaking operating fluids to be caught, collected and subsequently disposed of using a separate drain valve.

The Mercedes-Benz Econic 2635 with Eberl body is perfectly prepared for recovery operations, not least thanks to its low overall height.
Extra safe: the crew can get in and out through the fully-glazed door on the co-driver's side, where there are just two steps to climb.
The low entry is especially ergonomic and saves the crew some valuable energy.
The spacious cab has room for up to four fully equipped firefighters.
The recovery platform can be controlled conveniently using a remote control.
The tilting recovery platform is also specially sealed to prevent leaking fluids from coming into contact with the environment.
Vast reach: the special vehicle recovery crane can extend by as much as 10 metres.
Cameras at the front, rear and in the side mirrors provide the driver with the right perspective in every situation and also offers a good all-round view of what's going on.
Sideguard Assist monitors the area to the right-hand side of the vehicle and informs the driver both visually and audibly in the event of, for example, a cyclist being detected in the monitoring zone.
For every eventuality: the Econic even houses a container of oil binding agent for spreading at the accident site.
Wheel lifts at the rear of the Econic can be extended hydraulically.
Two-wheelers can be safely transported using a special retainer on the recovery platform.
The Mercedes-Benz Econic 2635 with Eberl body is perfectly prepared for recovery operations, not least thanks to its low overall height.
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The Station Commander is thrilled with the new star in his fleet: "The vehicle can tackle anything we throw at it and was tailored precisely to our needs. Plus, thanks to its large panoramic glazing, it provides a perfect view of the surroundings," he says. The Palfinger loading crane with a lifting torque of 19.5 m/t was of decisive importance when choosing the vehicle. The PK19500T-EH High Performance special model is the largest crane in its series. "The old tow truck was progressively reaching its lifting capacity limits with the ever-increasing weight of accident-damaged vehicles. Its overhang and short recovery platform were also becoming noticeably problematic," says Walter Wistermayer, drawing comparisons with the many user-friendly solutions of the new vehicle.

The handy radio remote control of the crane enables, for example, an optimal view of the platform and the entire loading area during operation. The laterally positioned extension cylinder ensures the low overall vehicle height can be maintained even when the main arm is extended. "Thanks to the combination of the low height of the Econic and the very well-designed air suspension, we can now even fit under overhead gantries on the motorway with vans or high SUVs loaded on the platform – with our former vehicle, that wasn't always possible."

The Econic can tackle anything we throw at it and was tailored precisely to our needs. Plus, thanks to its large panoramic glazing, it provides a perfect view of the surroundings.

Walter Wistermayer, Station Commander, Vienna-Neudorf's volunteer fire brigade

Greater safety for the crew and other road users.

According to the Station Commander, there were two advantages of the vehicle which were decisive in choosing the Econic: "The large cab with space for up to four crew members and the folding door on the co-driver's side." These mean that both the driver and the crew can exit on the vehicle's nearside. Not only is this safer, but it also protects against draughts in the cab. In the past, this has been known to cause considerable disorder in the cab, as Walter Wistermayer remembers with a smile.

The Econic focuses on the safety of other road users, too. With its low height and panoramic glazing, the cab offers the driver a direct view of the traffic situation at all times. What's more, Sideguard Assist and an all-round camera system ensure that there are no blind spots.

Sideguard Assist on the Econic helps keeps cyclists safe

Every movement is perfect.

When the fire appliance reaches the scene of the current call, it stops just a few metres away from the overturned vehicle. The Econic's four-strong crew exits the vehicle quickly and safely via the low exit on the co-driver's side, while the driver's door remains closed the whole time. Once the accident site has been secured and the trapped person has been freed, the firefighters concentrate on recovering the damaged van. The well-trained team of firefighters knows exactly what they have to do: after the team raises the van, the winches of the Econic with 3.5 t and 6 t pulling capacity respectively help secure the vehicle on the recovery platform.

Station Commander Walter Wistermayer is happy: "In part, our new Econic enabled us to recover and remove the flatbed van so quickly in this case, and thus get the road back open to traffic in just a short space of time."

Interested?

Get your Econic information material here!

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