As Rosenbauer UK continue to deliver on the surge of municipal Fire and Rescue Service orders – with a particularly saturated second half of 2018 – I look back to see how the seeds we’ve sown since 2014 have matured to create something particularly exceptional for the brave firefighters using our products on the front line.
Following the merge of Rosenbauer International and North Fire in 2014, I sat down with the new and extremely impressive Board of Rosenbauer UK – Dieter Siegel, Sebastian Wolf, Hans Detzlhofer and me – to formulate an effective strategy for the UK, a territory which I believe to be one of the most challenging, thorough and exciting in the Global Fire Market.
Added into the team then came the highly experienced pairing of Wolfgang Voraberger and Nick Uwins, providing unrivalled technical support around performance and localisation, handled by our excellent UK production line.
Following all subsequent discussions and validations, the one very strong and unanimous direction of the team revolved around one thing: a high degree of quality. At no stage did we entertain the prospect of low quality to achieve a subsequently low cost. This display of integrity was the very reason I chose to incorporate myself, officially, within the Rosenbauer family in 2014.
The firefighter is an extremely impressive breed of character – proud, professional and efficient. They are the single best weapon to save life in an emergency situation – over and above any piece of technology. ‘Armed’ with the most technologically advanced ‘tools’ on the global market, however, and their skill, courage and bravery becomes all the more clinical and effective against fire and other related risks.
Incorporate into this the infinitely improved and increased level of firefighter safety, and the decision for us to produce only the highest performing fleet and equipment becomes validated to the highest degree possible. Protecting our proudest asset – the firefighter – is as essential as fighting fire.
In 2015, for instance, the North West of England consortium of brigades consulted the market place and subsequently tendered for a solution which could cope with the monumental increase in industrial and complex residential fires. In particular, the appliance was required to deal with fires which are too big for a conventional pumping appliance, yet not high enough to use an Aerial Ladder Platform or Turntable Ladder effectively. The result has been prolific, with the emergence of the AT-Stinger: arguably the most famous single pumping appliance in the United Kingdom.
Another example lies in Surrey Fire and Rescue Service. They highlighted a necessity to achieve an increase in outreach at height from their aerial appliance fleet. With this demand, we proposed a specific, tailored solution with the B42 – our 42 metre Aerial Ladder Platform. Within the first four years of the appliance’s life, the additional working height and outreach has been brought into essential use on countless occasions. Now we see the 42m option as an almost second choice standard within the UK Fire Market.
Future Surrey ‘super-pumpers’ will also now incorporate in-cab joystick-controlled Rosenbauer RM15 roof monitors to fight large fires at distance, similar to the AT-Stinger. This will be able to deliver up to 2,000 litres per minute over a distance of up to 70 metres, if required.
Even when tasked with reducing the physical footprint of pumping appliances, for improved manoeuvrability, our target is to stow more equipment and carry more water to fundamentally increase the power to the hand of the firefighter.
In conjunction with every improvement, our obsession with the environment ensures our appliances are manufactured using the highest grade of aluminium possible. Our calculations highlight that we build with approximately 1,000 kilograms – a full tonne – LESS plastic than our standard UK competitors, which is something we’re extremely proud of. This means the residual value of a Rosenbauer appliance – after over 20 years of use – remains high, hand-in-hand with the global demand for aluminium.
To conclude, the seeds which were sown in 2014 have now grown into something far greater than replacement trucks, but provided an increase in firefighter safety, heightened public safety and improved environmental impact through the use of renewable materials.
We are obsessed with upgrading, not merely replacing what stood before it.
For these reasons, it seems, Rosenbauer UK’s increase in revenue by an estimated 250% in 2018, is very much for a reason. We will strive to apply our marginal gains of improvement on a day-to-day basis as we continue our quest of self-assessment and self-improvement. Both technologically, environmentally and in a whole life quality of service capacity.