Safely to the scene: Günzburg Fire Brigade relies on AL-KO VT Trailer Control
The firefighters need to ensure their own safety as well as others’. They sometimes have to get quickly to an emergency in large vehicles towing commercial trailers. One product from AL-KO Vehicle Technology ensures that they stay on track. This is used, for example, by the Günzburg fire brigade.
As fast as possible – without sacrificing safety
For fires, accidents or disasters, the fire brigade has to be on the scene quickly every time. After all, every minute counts when human lives are at stake. However, firefighters also risk their own safety when driving through traffic at high speeds.
Manoeuvring a 12-tonne fire engine towing a commercial trailer at high speed is a particular challenge. Traffic warning trailers, for example, have to be brought quickly to the scene of an accident on the motorway. The traffic situation there is often unclear, and if wind, bad weather or ruts in the road are added to the mix, it can be dangerous for the driver and other road users as well.
Overtaking and lane changes are particularly risky when towing an extra load. The trailer may start to sway or rock. On top of this, the trailers are usually not visible from the rearview mirror in larger fire engines. This means that the driver must constantly check the mirror at speeds of up to 110 km/h and in a situation that demands full attention on the road ahead.
New control system increases firefighters’ safety in traffic
The Günzburg fire brigade has an intelligent solution for keeping their vehicle combination under control: the anti-snaking system AL-KO Trailer Control (ATC) for commercial trailers from AL-KO Vehicle Technology.
The system constantly monitors the trailer’s driving response. The ATC uses sensors to detect dangerous lateral movements directly on the trailer axle, before any ESP trailer system installed in the towing vehicle can even sense the pendulum movement. If limit values are exceeded, the ATC is automatically activated and applies the trailer’s brakes via Bowden cables. Briefly braking the trailer stretches out the vehicle combination and pulls it straight again. This reduces the lateral acceleration and thus the situation’s risk level. The entire process is hardly noticeable for the driver – so they can concentrate fully on the traffic situation.
Until recently, the ATC was only available for leisure vehicles. That’s because the system previously only worked for trailers with a relatively constant weight. This is generally the case with leisure trailers: The payload is usually rather low, and there is little difference between their unladen weight and their gross weight. For commercial trailers, on the other hand, the gross weight depends on the respective load. To ensure the ATC could provide more safety for commercial trailers as well, the engineers at AL-KO Vehicle Technology expanded the ATC. The new ATC for commercial trailers adapts dynamically to the respective load weight – to keep you safely on track.
Günzburg fire brigade
To ensure that it is really ready for use, the ATC runs a self-test every time the trailer is hitched. A green light indicates that the ATC is active. The driver of the vehicle combination then knows that the trailer will stay on track behind them even in high-risk situations. On average, the system registers one dangerous situation each time the Günzburg firefighters respond to an emergency. Now that the driver can stop worrying about these risks, they can concentrate on getting to the scene of the accident as quickly as possible and saving lives.
“The ATC is a great asset for our fire brigade,” says Günzburg fire brigade commander and municipal fire inspector Christoph Stammer. “The more our drivers can concentrate on the traffic around them, the safer our operations become for us and other road users.”
You can find information about the Günzburg fire brigade here.