In the coming months, the Leipzig Fire Department will replace its entire HLF fleet (emergency fire-fighting group vehicles) as the current fleet has reached an average age of almost 20 years. The new fleet will feature 22 vehicles that are the Rosenbauer HLF 20 "Light Class", all identical in construction and equipped with the high-end extinguishing system N35 + DIGIMATIC42. They enter service in equal parts both with the professional and the volunteer fire brigades, who also drew up the specifications together with the Technical and Special Procurement Department of the Leipzig Fire Department.
Leipzig Fire Department Fire chief, Andreas Rößler said, "This procurement is primarily intended to achieve the goal of creating a uniform initial unit for the professional fire brigade and the volunteer fire brigade. In addition, not only are 22 identical vehicles in use, but this is also advantageous for maintenance and repair. For this reason, the requirements for the HLF and its loading process were determined in detail by a working group with the various user groups, whereby very different needs had to be harmonized in some cases".
HLF 20 "Light Class" fleet
A special feature of the HLF 20 "Light Class" vehicle is its narrow width of 2.42 m, based on MAN's C cab
A special feature of the HLF 20 "Light Class" vehicle is its narrow width of 2.42 m, based on MAN's C cab. Andreas Rößler adds, "We deliberately chose a narrow chassis in order to get through the traffic better. Leipzig is a rapidly growing city in which the volume of traffic is becoming increasingly dense, bringing the infrastructure increasingly to its limits”.
He adds, “In addition, we had to take into account the different structural conditions in the alert zone as well as in our fire stations and equipment buildings when we had to procure such a comprehensive system. For this reason, for example, the vehicle height is limited to 3.15 m."
COMFORT mounting system
One of the challenges with the vehicle configuration was to accommodate the extensive standard load of the HLF 20 in a body with a reduced width. The COMFORT mounting system with its space-saving pull-outs (e.g. for hydraulic rescue equipment), rotary attachments (for power generators) and hose magazines performed outstandingly well.
Bulky equipment (in its own box) and sliding ladders are transported on the roof with two one-man reels that can be mounted at the rear. There was also room for a light mast in the superstructure, and the Leipzig HLF also transports 400 l more water and 60 l more foam compound than the standard requirement (1600/120 l).
N35 + DIGIMATIC42 extinguishing equipment
The extinguishing equipment used also exceeds the standard requirements. The N35 pump has an output of up to 3,000 l/min at 10 bar. The DIGIMATIC42 pressure proportioning system has a spread of 0.1 to 42 l/min and is suitable for outputting both mains water and extinguishing foam.
The central water axis automatically distributes all water in the vehicle to where it is needed (tank, pump or both at the same time). The machine operator can concentrate fully on the foam addition or the pressure side, which essentially consists of four low pressure outlets and another to the quick attack reel. The water/foam concentrate mixture from the DIGIMATIC42 is injected directly at the outlet, so that the water pump remains free of foam concentrate.
Cabin with Action Tower
The vehicle is mounted on a 15-t chassis, a 290 hp strong engine in combination with a TipMatic
The vehicle is mounted on a 15-t chassis (MAN TGM 15.290 LL 4x2), a 290 hp (215 kW) strong engine in combination with a TipMatic, which provides plenty of pull when on deployment. The crew compartment is integrated into the body and is equipped with six seats (vehicle crew: 2+2+4) and four PA brackets.
An "Action Tower" installed between the front seats offer storage space for rescue service backpacks, breathing masks, a battery charger for hydraulic rescue and electrical equipment (sabre saw, cordless screwdriver), thermal imaging camera, gas detector and walkie-talkies. Fully glazed doors allow the crew to get an optimal view to the outside.
Prototypes tested for operational efficiency
Two prototypes were used by the Leipzig Fire Department for testing purposes between November 2018 and March 2019. They were stationed at different stations (e.g. main fire stations, Westwache, Engelsdorf, Grünau, etc.) by professional and volunteer fire brigades, so that the teams could develop a feeling for driving and operating the pump as well as for the fast access to the devices and/or generally for technical procedures. After all, they had not yet had any experience with Rosenbauer vehicles; the 22 HLF 20s are the very first to be put into service in Leipzig.
According to Brandrat Rößler, the feedback concerning the trial operation was very positive. He said, "The bright ambient lighting was one of the highlights, in the truest sense of the word. The Rosenbauer revolving staircase was also very well received, fully meeting our requirements for fast entry and exit into and out of the crew compartment and providing our emergency services with added safety. In any case, we are looking forward to being able to accept the first eleven vehicles into regular service in June after the predominantly positive experiences from the prototype tests and the subsequent optimizations."
The Leipzig Fire Brigade
The Leipzig Fire Brigade is one of the ten largest emergency rescue operations organizations in Germany
The Leipzig Fire Brigade is one of the ten largest emergency rescue operations organizations in Germany. In addition to the 700 full-time employees in six fire stations of the professional fire brigade, there are over a thousand volunteers in 22 local fire brigades. In addition, 360 children and young people are involved in the youth fire brigade.
The Leipzig Fire Department is not only responsible for fire protection and special rescue operations (high, deep, water rescue), it is also responsible for the general rescue service in the city and, among other things, transporting the sick. In addition, it acts as the garrison for the Federal Analytical Task Force.
Robust, powerful fire-fighting vehicles
In the previous year, the Leipzig Fire Brigade was alerted with more than 10,000 missions, almost half of which (4,634) - an unusually large number compared with other cities - were fire missions. Not least for this reason, the Fire Department opted for particularly powerful and robust fire-fighting vehicles for the latest procurement, which can be operated quickly and reliably and with which they can easily get through traffic.