Where skill is a must.

Econic 1835 fire service vehicle equipped with turntable ladder to create all-round emergency vehicle.

Every second counts, every move has to be spot on, every challenge needs to be mastered – in firefighting operations, skill is a must, for staff and equipment. Firefighters undergo tough training, emergency services vehicles are developed to the highest standards. And sometimes that literally means reaching staggering height. Four Mercedes-Benz Econic trucks with turntable ladders form an important part of the crews' equipment at Aachen's professional fire service. They can do lots of things.

Reliable base.

The city of Aachen boasts four fire stations with a total of 280 vehicles and around 450 emergency service staff. Philipp Allwißner is one of them: as the Technology team leader, the professional firefighter looks after the impressive fleet with his 25-strong team. The site with approximately 1,400 m2 of workshop space in what is locally known as “auf der Hüls” is the maintenance and repair hub for all of Aachen's professional fire service vehicles.

Since September 2022, four new Econic 1835 trucks with turntable ladders have been in operation in the large city in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. In accordance with fire service standards, the turntable ladders can lift emergency services crews to heights of 23 m in 90 seconds. And if necessary, they can even go beyond that. Three firefighters can be lifted to a rescue height of 30 m.

The Econic is a perfect match.

Philipp Allwißner recalls that, in 2020, when the time had come to replace the lifting platforms, there was an unavoidable discussion about the future vehicle type. Everyone was in favour of procuring so-called turntable ladder vehicles: tactical considerations for deployments, procurement and maintenance costs as well as the vehicle mass corresponding to fire safety requirements. Following the tender, Magirus, a company based in Ulm, was awarded the contract for the supply of four turntable ladders.

There was also no doubt about the choice of chassis: emergency services staff had been impressed by the Econic as the base for the previous lifting platform vehicles. “Our team specifically asked for Econic vehicles,” Philipp Allwißner reports. Genuine proof of the confidence in our vehicles. Consequently, the Magirus M32LAS was installed on the Econic 1835. The Technology team from Aachen subsequently took charge the four new turntable ladder vehicles.

Fully committed to serve.

Once Magirus, as the full-service contractor, had offered and designed the chassis, the city of Aachen concluded a leasing contract with the renowned turntable ladder manufacturer. “This brings about significant advantages for us – especially with regard to the vehicles' contractual terms and the service contract we also included,” the head of the Technology team adds.


Better than ever.

At the workshop, Philipp Allwißner and his colleague Matthias Claaßen, vehicle mechanic and one of two workshop managers in the seven-strong workshop crew, showcase the advantages of the impressive Econic model: it boasts an engine power output of 350 hp, an Allison 3200P automatic transmission and a wheelbase of 4500 mm.

These details are rounded off by the chassis' permissible gross vehicle weight of 16 t. “This is essential to be able to manoeuvre around certain areas of buildings,” Philipp Allwißner explains. The dimensions of the LowEntry truck make manoeuvring narrow, inner-city streets easier and this accelerates the emergency services' response. Protecting crews' safety – an important element of fire service training – is also taken into account: thanks to the DirectVision cab, Econic drivers have a generous, direct view of the traffic situation and can also rely on support by safety assistance systems, given it is particularly important as part of emergency operations not to be involved in accidents yourself.

Philipp Allwißner reiterates: “we have really found an ideal solution with the Econic chassis.”

We have found an ideal solution with the Econic chassis.

Philipp Allwißner, Technology team leader, Aachen professional fire service

Kitting up on the go to gain valuable time.

The vehicle interior is also impressive. On the way to the scene of the emergency, three firefighters can put on their breathing apparatus in the spacious cab as the relevant equipment has been integrated into the seats. This saves valuable time when it comes to deployments as part of which smoke is threatening to take lives. It goes without saying that there are other potential applications for turntable ladders – technical assistance services such as the illumination at scenes of accidents or the classic case of an animal stuck in a tree. Philipp Allwißner clears up a common myth in this context: experience has shown that incapacitated birds are significantly more often affected by this than cats.

Getting the whole fleet going.

Back on the ground, Matthias Claaßen explains how his workshop crew stationed at "auf der Hüls" deals with maintenance, repairs and modernisations: "every day brings new challenges and we re-adapt to each vehicle. In this context, the Econic provides a kind of operational guarantee." There is hardly any downtime thanks to its durable design and easy maintenance. Consequently, one of the four vehicles in the fleet can be used not only as a spare, but also for training purposes.

Practising for emergencies.

In Aachen alone, almost 250 firefighters have been trained in turntable ladder operations. Their training was specifically geared towards handling the new Econic – just as workshop staff intensively worked on servicing and repairs. During deployments and in the workshop, every step has been trained to perfection so that the Econic is ready to serve the community – around a dozen times a day.

These are deployments that underline the vital role of the new acquisitions. Philipp Allwißner remembers a particularly critical case that occurred just a few weeks ago: "there had been a fire in a residential building as part of which we were able to rescue all nine occupants from a burning flat with the Econic. Every second counted." Seconds in which staff and equipment worked together perfectly.

Want to learn more about the Econic for firefighting?


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