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Up and down the mountain with the Sprinter fire-fighting vehicle.

6x6 Sprinter and a firefighter

No matter how steep and stony the path – the imposing three-axle all-wheel drive fire-fighting vehicle always brings the courageous men from the Hinterschiffl volunteer fire service to their destination.

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter as fire-fighting vehicle.

Hinterschiffl lies in the heart of the idyllic Mühlviertel in Upper Austria. The afternoons in the square of the village with 1600 inhabitants are generally quiet. The silence is only broken by the quiet sawing and engine sounds from the forests and fields. But when the three-axle Sprinter 6×6 belonging to the local fire service races around the corner with flashing lights, wide eyes and open mouths replace the afternoon peace.

A Sprinter 6x6 fire truck drives down a mountain

Particularly in the event of forest accidents, the Sprinter 6×6 is a great support for the fire brigade thanks to its all-wheel drive.

From prototype to a fire-fighting vehicle.

“It all began with the exhibition at the Interschutz in Hannover 2010”, explains Christian Simmel, commander of the Hinterschiffl volunteer fire brigade for the last three years. “The specialists at Oberaigner presented the vehicle as one of five prototypes. Rosenbauer was responsible for the body. Both companies are located nearby. In addition, the personal contact worked well right from the beginning. That is why we chose this fire fighting vehicle and were the first to start using this vehicle at the end of 2011”.

View of the cargo area of the all-wheel drive fire-fighting vehicle.

View of the cargo area of the all-wheel drive fire-fighting vehicle.

Sprinter sensation on six wheels.

As the first three-axle vehicle with permanent 6×6-drive, the vehicle is a minor sensation. It has put the quiet village in the headlines and attracted interested visitors from all over the world. “Press representatives from many different countries were here and representatives of many different professions and organizations visited us almost every week”, remembers Mr. Simmel. The all-wheel drive fire-fighting vehicle, known as LF-A, not only impresses with its unique appearance but has also proven its capabilities as a practical assistant for the fire service. “The terrain in our district is anything but easy and it is all steep mountains and valleys wherever you look”, says Mr. Simmel, as he looks at the autumn mountain panorama and smiles. “The winters here are rather hard and a lot of remote farming and forestry operations are inaccessible with normal fire-fighting vehicles”.

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Extremely multifunctional: the Sprinter as fire engine.

The Hinterschiffl voluntary fire service has a total of 50 members, 20 of whom have a truck license and can serve as drivers during the exercises and call-outs. The commander himself often gets behind the wheel of the 6×6 Sprinter: “The van handles surprisingly lightly and it is compact and powerful with its 186 hp. Despite its high payload, its center of gravity is distributed compactly across the three axles, providing greater safety when driving, so that you never have to fear sliding even on steep slopes.”

That is why the vehicle accompanies the team on every call-out. “The van is ‘armed to the teeth’ and extremely multifunctional”, explains Mr. Simmel. “In addition to fire-fighting equipment it also has an extensive range of technical equipment and is always the first choice of our three fire-fighting vehicles”. When ready for deployment and with a nine man team the 6×6 weighs seven tonnes – “Every gram of payload is used”, explains Mr. Simmel looking at the perfectly packed cargo area of the fully loaded red Sprinter.

Sprinter 6x6

Maximum traction thanks to 6 wheels.

The LF-A to the rescue.

But what actually happens on a callout? “When the telephone rings at the alarm center in Linz then we have to move quickly”, explains Mr. Simmel. “The firemen on-call are notified via mobile phone and where possible leave their workplace immediately and drive to the fire station. The entire team gets changed there and collects the necessary material. This takes five minutes at the most”.

One of Mr. Simmel’s most striking memories is a flood callout in Passau, where the LF-A proved itself as a rescue vehicle: “People were already working at the front when the water suddenly also came from the back. Most of the vehicles stationed there were flooded immediately but we still kept on moving with our 6×6 even when the water was knee deep. This let us pull the other vehicles out of the water. The three-axle Sprinter has also proven itself with forestry accidents. “Other vehicles often have to be parked some distance away from the accident site – the 6×6 always makes it to the destination.”

Sprinter 6x6 in rocky terrain

The Hinterschiffl fire service all-wheel drive vehicle against a rocky background.

Sprinter 6x6 and two firefighters

Perfectly equipped: the Hinterschiffl fire service 6x6 all-wheel drive Sprinter.

Sprinter 6x6

The Hinterschiffl fire service 6x6 Sprinter always reaches the destination.

Photos: © FF Hinterschiffl

Sprinter

Regardless of what job you have to tackle – the Sprinter will make your day-to-day tasks easier. And even if those tasks are weighty ones, together, you’ll move mountains. Thanks to a host of different variants and over 600 optional features, the Sprinter can meet a wide variety of requirements.

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