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Up to the challenge
with the turntable ladder.

Econic as a turntable ladder vehicle for fire service operations.

At a drill in the Danish town of Haderslev, the Special Truck with its turntable ladder body shows itself at its best. The key advantages: the ergonomics, easy body mounting, low design height, the engine and the transmission.

Fast reaction in demand.

His neighbours are familiar with the procedure: one minute Jens Fredskild stands relaxed talking to somebody in a supermarket queue, the next he’s rushing out of the store and jumping into a car. The beeper the 38-year-old carries with him has sounded the alert. Alarm!

Just moments later, the qualified teacher arrives at the fire station of the small town of Haderslev and puts on his fire service clothes. Every movement is a well rehearsed routine. After all, saving seconds can save lives. A big countdown clock in the fire station shows the time taken. The fire trucks have a maximum target time of five minutes from the moment the alarm is given to the moment that they are ready to leave. This is laid down in the contract between the municipal authority and Falck, the station’s private operator. “This station, however, has an average ‘mission-ready’ time of 3 minutes 30 seconds,” head of the station Charlotte Starostka comments with pride. She is also in charge of seven more nearby Falck stations. In comparison with the other Danish fire stations that operate on standby with part-time staff, this average is one of the best.

There’s no better base vehicle for a turntable ladder than the Econic!

Karsten Højland, Fireman

The right type of driving dynamics for emergencies.

Fireman Karsten Højland has also ‘dropped everything’ at his workplace. His employer is familiar with this procedure too and has adapted to his sideline commitment. Højland and Fredskild grab their helmets and get into their brand new turntable ladder vehicle. The countdown has only reached 3 minutes 25 seconds. The garage doors open and the siren starts to wail.

This time it was only a drill, but the two firefighters are glad to take the opportunity to show the “Transport” team of reporters how the new Econic with its Metz turntable ladder body works. It is one of the first vehicles of this kind to be delivered in Europe.

Firefighters like Fredskild and Højland are not only professional life-savers, but also experts for ergonomics: firemen’s suits, boots, equipment – everything needs to be arranged as efficiently as possible. The entire station – corridors, doors, pegs, buttons, switches, furnishings – is configured in such a way that the firefighters can reach their vehicles safely and quickly. So these two firemen also know exactly how to rate their new truck.

“There’s no better base vehicle for a turntable ladder than the Econic,” says Karsten Højland. “The low design height provides space for the might turntable ladder above the roof. The low entry concept ensures precisely that, fast and convenient access. And the spacious interior has room for two fire service workers plus equipment.” Jens Fredskild, who is sat the wheel today, is an Econic fan: “The new Euro VI engines offer a high torque at low engine speed, which means that we can move off quickly. Together with the fully automated Allison transmission, they generate just the kind of driving dynamics that we need in an emergency.”

For cities and the countryside.

Today, Højland and Fredskild want to try out the Econic and the Metz turntable ladder body at two locations. The first is an old grain silo on Haderslev Fjord, which has been converted into a climbing wall. It only takes a few minutes for the ladder to be extended to the appropriate height. It can be operated from a control seat on the chassis, as well as from the basket. “Metz has been the Mercedes among the turntable ladders for decades,” says Karsten Højland. “It’s all quality work and everything functions at the push of a button.”

Højland operates a switch, and the system automatically packs up the ladders in next to no time. The team is ready to leave and makes its way to the torv. This is the small market square opposite the cathedral in the narrow and winding old part of town. “Thanks to the compact wheelbase the Econic is extremely manoeuvrable,” says Jens Fredskild, as he steers the truck swiftly through the narrow alleyways. “Along with the good all-round visibility, you’re simply driving more safely in town than with a conventional truck.”

An all positive valuation for the Econic.

After arriving at the market square, a further advantage of the Allison fully automated transmission becomes clear: in conjunction with the reversing camera, it facilitates quick and exact manoeuvring. The two firemen skilfully drive the Econic into position between traffic signs, park benches and the jutting extensions of buildings on the torn and then extend the turntable ladders to a height of 30 metres. A majestic view opens up. At this height, a fire could also be efficiently fought in the municipality’s tallest buildings.

“But we don’t use the turntable ladder just for fires and rescuing at heights,” head of the station Charlotte Starostka points out after the successful drill. “At night, it is often deployed in the first unit dispatched, for example, when there is an accident on the motorway. We can then completely illuminate the site of the incident and thus make work a lot easier for the helpers there.”

Source: Transport Magazine 2/2015
Text: Lars Kruse
Photos: Sebastian Vollmert

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