A tradition of

The Bad Salzuflen fire brigade extinguishes more than just forest fires with its extreme off-road Unimog.

Only around 15% of Germany's surface area is built up, with most of the country covered by agricultural land and forests. In these areas, fires can spring up anywhere. And when they do, the fire service needs to get there. And the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia is no exception. The voluntary fire service in Bad Salzuflen is prepared for any terrain and requirements: its extreme off-road Unimog U 5023 is used as a tanker fire-fighting vehicle both on the road and off-road, and even takes part in towing races!

The decision to opt for the Unimog was made based on a wealth of experience: Andre Schüler knows all about the challenges of working as a firefighter in the North Rhine-Westphalian district of Lippe – and also the reliability that the Unimog stands for. After more than 30 years in active fire service, Andre Schüler has been responsible for technology, procurement and logistics at the Bad Salzuflen fire service for five years.

Good features, good partners.

When purchasing the extreme off-road Unimog with the 3000 VARUS tank fire-fighting vehicle body, particular attention was paid to its suitability for fire-fighting operations in the event of forest fires – and therefore to the vehicle's off-road capability. After a Europe-wide tender, a decision was made to go with a Unimog U 5023 demonstration vehicle. For Andre Schüler, the decision was clear: "this Unimog was a worthwhile purchase for many reasons: not only because of its features, but also because of the shorter waiting time."

The fire service professionals were able to rely on the Unimog professionals for the project's implementation: RKF-Bleses GmbH, the Unimog general distributor for the Westphalian region and the Rhineland, took care of this while Schlingmann adapted the fire-fighting body to the fire service's needs.

For every case and every occasion.

So when the Unimog then first arrived at the Wüsten site in 2021, it had a wide range of extinguishing and rescue tools at its disposal: with its 3,000-litre tank and S3000 centrifugal fire-fighting pump from Schlingmann, the Unimog is not only able to effectively supply water when fighting fires, but is also indispensible for creating water barriers.

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Impressively adaptable.

The Unimog's pump-and-roll function ensures a constant water supply and is now fitted as standard in many fire-fighting vehicles.  In addition to the four front spray nozzles, the tank fire-fighting vehicle is also able to fight fires using a fog nozzle through the roof hatch. The vehicle also features a folding water canon mounted on the roof, which can be activated and operated from the cab.

The ability to overcome uneven terrain and steep slopes is also crucial when fighting forest fires. With its all-wheel drive and portal axles providing exceptional ground clearance, this is no problem for the Unimog. Whether on a motorway, muddy country lane or steep forest road – with the TireControl plus tyre pressure control system, emergency services can adjust the tyre pressure to different terrain conditions in seconds.

Heat protection ex works.

The Unimog guarantees optimum performance with maximum off-road capability, all the while remaining unaffected by fires: all lines under the vehicle are fire-resistant, enabling fire fighters to continue driving the vehicle even in the most critical of situations. What's more, when they need to reverse, the video reversing system provides a clear view of their surroundings, enabling them to drive quickly and in a controlled manner.

Ready day and night.

Since the fire service in Bad Salzuflen needs to be ready to work in all light conditions, the Unimog is equipped with ambient lighting. The pneumatic light tower with its four LED spotlights makes even a forest in the middle of the night shine as bright as day. On top of all this, full use has been made of the Unimog's high transportation capacity, with the vehicle well equipped with extinguishing agents. The Unimog also comes with the latest communication technology, mobile radios and standard-compliant equipment such as hand lamps, first aid equipment, protective blankets and slings – or, as Andre Schüler sums it up succinctly, "we've got absolutely everything on board."

Absolutely everything on board.

Andre Schüler, Technical, Procurement and Logistics Specialist, Bad Salzuflen Voluntary Fire Service


Equipped for anything.

Since the fire service in Bad Salzuflen also regards the Unimog as a multifunctional all-rounder, it has tried to use the vehicle for as many applications as possible. “In order to further increase the value of the vehicle, we equipped the Unimog with a submersible pump", explains Andre Schüler.  This is particularly useful in storm and flood applications, for example when we need to pump cellars dry. The fire service can also rely on a telescopic loader that can be used in combination with the Unimog to quickly clear roads and paths of mud and debris.

A tradition of pulling together.

Perhaps the most unusual thing the new fire-fighting vehicle was used for was in summer 2023: at the inauguration of the new fire station in Wüsten, 20 teams of five people each took part in “Mog-Pulling” - a sporting competition in which each team attempts to pull the 14-tonne Unimog over a certain distance on a rope. Like the Special Truck itself, the event was a roaring success. And it has the potential to become what the Unimog in Bad Salzuflen has been for a long time: a tradition.

Project implemented with Unimog general distributor:
RKF-Bleses GmbH


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The Unimog implement carrier.

Flexible attachment and mounting options, year-round use, cost-effective operation, safe on the road and robust off-road.

The extreme off-road Unimog.

Developed as a reliable powerhouse with one goal: the utmost in indestructibility.

Unimog Firefighting.

Unimog equipment carriers and all-terrain Unimog offer a wide range of solutions for special emergency response applications.

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