The Special Trucks division at Mercedes-Benz has loaned the mountain rescue services in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, a Unimog U 4000 with a seven-seater double cab. The Unimog off-road concept will be used by mountain rescue crews on the Feldberg mountain in the Upper Black Forest region.
At altitudes of 1,493 meters, the mountain’s harsh climate of storms and snow, and its steep, craggy topography, the Feldberg mountain is an ideal location to put the Unimog to the test for mountain rescue operations. The Unimog and its off-road competence will also help the mountain rescuers to work better with other organizations. The Unimog is designed to improve the level of protection, which the mountain rescue service can offer to people, for example after floods, and if the worst happens, the team transport cab can give greater transport capacity in the event of a major mountain rescue operation. With a trailer suitable for off-road use, boats, generators, snowmobiles and other heavy devices can also be taken along to difficult-to-reach places as required, according to the automaker.
The Unimog U 4000 on-loan to the mountain rescue service features a cab for transporting an entire team, with a total of seven seats. With a wheelbase of 3,850 mm and a steel drop-side body with tarpaulin, the mountain rescuers store all of their necessary rescue materials in modules. The four-cylinder OM 924 LA Euro V diesel engine offers performance of 218 hp, which is transmitted to the wheels by an all-wheel drive system. A great advantage of the Unimog extreme off-roader are its optimal driving characteristics in tough off-road terrain and frame torsion of up to 600 mm when driving off-road, according to the automaker.
The so-called rescue modules are loaded in trolleys in order to equip the Unimog as quickly as possible with additionally required materials for the various types of operation. Onboard for emergency situations are, among other things, the cable car module and the illumination module with emergency power generator and floodlights. The care module includes tents equipped for providing first-aid to victims. The avalanche module comprises material for organized probing for and rescue of avalanche victims. By loading the avalanche module on the vehicle, the Black Forest mountain rescuers can save on the procurement of additional materials for each of the mountain rescue stations at Belchen, Feldberg, and Schauinsland, according to the automaker.
Serving the German state of Baden-Württemberg, the Black Forest mountain rescue service (Bergwacht Schwarzwald e.V.) manages mountain rescue operations off the beaten track and away from civilization in the difficult terrain of the Black Forest while also looking after numerous ski pistes, cross-country skiing trails, lifts, and cable cars in the region. Furthermore, the Feldberg region attracts more than 9 million visitors per year, resulting in up to 600 emergency mountain rescue operations, according to the automaker.
The area which the Upper Black Forest mountain rescue service covers is split into three circular operational zones around the Feldberg mountain. It also may be called out to bigger emergencies, which can be as far away as the Swiss or French border. The tasks range from floods to rescue journeys in the Alps. In the spring and summer months, the mountain rescue teams predominantly rescue walkers, rock climbers and paragliders. They even carry out rescues in caves. In the winter months, the vast majority of their operations concern winter sports and avalanche rescues. All year round, the mountain rescue service carries out rescue operations by air as well as cable car evacuations, according to the automaker.