Rescuer in real emergencies.

Unimog in operation for UNIKE, the new Johanniter disaster relief unit.

Floods, heavy rain, black ice, heavy snowfalls: in the state of North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) too, extreme weather situations are on the increase. In order to ensure public safety in the future, in October 2017 the Johanniter accident rescue service created a mission team for extreme weather conditions, called UNIKE (Universal Emergency Rescue Unit). The name, reminiscent of the English word "unique", says a lot: because the concept of the vehicles used for UNIKE is unique, just like the new unit itself is. Where other vehicles quickly reach their limits off paved roads, the highly agile Unimog is in its element: UNIKE meets Unimog.

For us, the Unimog is an indispensable rescue helper in extreme weather conditions. Because that's when every second counts.


Dr Tobias Eilers, spokesperson for the Johanniter Accident Rescue North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) section

Johanniter choose technical support.

With increasing frequency, people get into difficulties due to natural disasters. In order to cope with these new challenges, rescue and emergency services place great value on having the necessary technical support. For the Johanniter too, investment in training and equipment has top priority. Current result of the increased in resources: the new UNIKE unit, and new vehicles that can cope with all weathers. Because there is an increasing need for vehicles that can navigate badly damaged or flooded terrain. That is why, besides motorbikes and quads, the Johanniter fleet in North Rhine Westphalia now also has four extreme off-road Unimog ambulance vehicles and two Unimog rescue vehicles.

Unimog impressive thanks to extreme off-road agility.

Why Unimog? Dr Tobias Eilers from Johanniter NRW can give a clear answer to this. "The Unimog can get to regions and areas that other vehicles cannot," says the spokesperson. In emergencies, you can always rely on the all-rounder: "Its high fording capacity and ground clearance and the high axle spacing make it indispensable to us for rescue operations. Because that's when every second counts."

Another point in favour of the Unimog: its robust design and the extreme versatility and variety of equipment. The Johanniter colleagues immediately made good use of this, and they themselves converted used Unimog U 1300 L of the army to suit their needs. This way, the professional helpers can adapt their vehicles any time to suit changing circumstances. And if necessary, they can ask for support from one of the many Unimog service partners.

 Do you need support? Find Unimog service partner now.

First UNIKE major operation: Unimog goes into action.

The newly bought Unimog was able to show what it was capable of at the first UNIKE major exercise in 2017. The sun was shining in the morning, but the previous days had brought heavy rain. So the military training area of the Wahner Heide near Cologne presented the experienced Johanniter rescue workers with slush, mud and deep water holes. Best conditions, because the exercise was supposed to be as close as possible to real conditions in emergency operations.

The scenario of the exercise: a 20-strong group of outdoor athletes has been taken by surprise by severe weather and floods. "Search, find, rescue and get to hospital," is the order, says Eilers. They travel into the area on quads and motorbikes to look for the casualties. A reconnaissance drone helps the search.

The Unimog rescue vehicle brings driver, co-driver and patients safely to the goal.
More than 200 Johanniter took part at the major exercise in October 2017.
Cuts a fine figure also from side view: the extreme off-road Unimog of Johanniter.
The Unimog rescue vehicle brings driver, co-driver and patients safely to the goal.

More about UNIKE.

UNIKE NRW is a rescue unit of the Johanniter, set up in October 2017 . It is not answerable either to regional government nor to the local rescue services. That is why any organisation can call on the services of UNIKE NRW, 24/7 and 365 days a year.


After the missing people have been found, the Unimog, which has received a radio message, goes into operation. Over uneven ground, deep ditches, mud and water, the offroad king only takes a few minutes to reach the location – carrying a team and heavy equipment. The injured people are expertly taken to the rescue platform, which provides space for up to four stretchers. Also on board: everything needed for first aid, including a defibrillator, an emergency rucksack and bandages. Then they move to "Clinic 50", a field hospital set up on the area. After the fictional patients have been stabilised, they are transferred to the Johanniter air rescue helicopter.

You can count on Unimog.

More than 200 experienced emergency rescue helpers came to the major exercise of the NRW sector of the Johanniter, plus emergency personnel from NRW state commando forces. The perfect coordination between the various interacting sections of the rescue unit and military forces was demonstrated at its very best. And showed that the Mercedes-Benz all-rounder is always the perfect partner for emergency operations. Because whether flooded roads, mud, rocks, snow or ice are the problem: the Unimog always finds a way.

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