The voluntary fire service at Ohrdruf extinguishes forest fires with an extreme off-road Unimog.
The voluntary fire service at Ohrdruf in the Gotha region has been involved in some big operations: the many forest fires which the state of Thuringia had to fight in 2019 challenged the 50-strong fire service team on several occasions. Also, since the fire-fighting division located at the nearby military training ground was withdrawn, the team has been responsible for operations there, too. A reliable comrade has been assisting the voluntary fire service in coping with all these tasks: an extreme off-road Unimog with endurance and a large tank capacity.
The flame-red Unimog U 5023 with its striking flame design lives up to its promise. With its 231 hp this powerhouse, combined with a classic TLF 4000 water tender body manufactured by Ziegler, is the ideal partner for off-road operations. In additions to 4000 l of water, the fire engine also accommodates 500 l of fire-extinguishing foam and transports its load reliably to its destination – even if that is off-road.
Town fire officer talks about the off-road champion.
Increasingly hot summers and larger areas of responsibility are taking their toll on man and machine. In order to ensure its availability for use, the voluntary fire service at Ohrdruf is calling upon the services of competent reinforcements for off-road operations. Town fire officer, René Eisentraut, knows exactly what is important during operations.
Mr. Eisentraut, has the voluntary fire service at Ohrdruf used Unimog vehicles in the past?
No, as a matter of fact, prior to the TLF 4000 we have never had a Unimog in our fleet. However, in recent years our tasks have increased. And for that we needed a larger and more powerful water tender vehicle.
Why is the Unimog U 5023 such a good fit for you?
In addition to fire protection within the town, we also safeguard a huge forest area and, since 2015, the army's military training grounds. In view of the wide range of tasks, it was important for us to select a vehicle that can cope with every type of terrain. It had to be able to take our equipment and the team to every location so that they could do their job there.
What were the alternatives to the Unimog?
To be honest, we have to admit that in view of what we required of the new vehicle, we didn't look at any alternatives at all. The Unimog U 5023 was in this case most definitely the logical answer. It complies with the European EN 1846 fire service standard for M3 category vehicles. And with the help of the Unimog U 5023, every situation and every terrain – regardless of the season – can be overcome.
In view of the wide range of tasks, it was important for us to select a vehicle that can cope with every type of terrain.
René Eisentraut, town fire officer, voluntary fire service in Ohrdruf
What are the tasks that the voluntary fire service for Ohrdruf must carry out?
On average we are called out between 200 and 220 times every year. Operations include a wide range of tasks. Of course these include classic fire fighting operations. However our team is also involved in securing accident scenes and catching loose animals.
What was the most challenging operation that you have mastered with the help of the Unimog?
The greatest challenge until now has definitely been the above average number of forest fires which the state of Thuringia has been fighting recently. Our neighbouring district has been particularly affected by them. The situation was actually declared an emergency; so we were involved in large-scale operations.
The situation became particularly precarious when there was a shortage of fire-fighting helicopters throughout the state. So we could only approach the fire from the ground. That makes the task more difficult. Without the Unimog U 5023 we would not have got the situation under control so quickly. With it we were able to reach and extinguish the source of the fires despite the difficult terrain. It has been a true gain for our fire-fighting team – and in turn for society too. A true off-road champion.
European EN 1846 fire service standard
The European EN 1846 fire service standard defines the general technical characteristics and equipment required of fire service vehicles. The EN 1846 standard classifies vehicles into three mass classes and three applicability categories, for example: road vehicles (M1), off-road vehicles (M2)and extreme off-road vehicles (M3). Thanks to its characteristics, the Unimog fulfils the highest demands, equal to those of the M2/M3 categories.