A telescopic handler configured for any emergency
THE GERMAN THW
The Bundesanstalt Technisches Hilfswerk (Federal Agency for Technical Relief, or THW) is a civil protection organisation comprised almost entirely of volunteers, which specialises in supplying emergency technical and logistical support in every possible emergency situation.
In 2018 the German interior ministry awarded a grant of €30 million to replace some of the THW’s obsolete equipment. It has already acquired 249 new vehicles, and will be investing in more over the coming years.
After a hard-fought tendering process, Dieci won the contract to supply the first batch of 39 Icarus 40.14 telehandlers for use by various local units.
Since the vehicles will be used in emergency conditions, the THW requested its own specific version of the Icarus. The prototype was produced in collaboration between the research and development department, Dieci Deutschland, in Giessen, and the distributor Tiedemann Werksvertretungen.
This was used at THW’s training centre in the town of Hoya, where Tiedemann provided the first operator training courses.
The series version of the Icarus 40.14 underwent significant modification. Besides the standard cab equipment available on all Dieci vehicles, it includes additional features such as:
- air filtration system (to keep out harmful substances)
- tool box
- heated pneumatic seat
- rear infrared video camera with 7-inch monitor
- compressed air tank
- heated rear view mirrors
- wheel alignment monitor
- protective grille for the windscreen
- right-side windscreen wipers
- digital transceiver with speaker and antenna
- Webasto air heating system
- 6 kg TÜV-certified fire extinguisher
There are additional LED headlights on the cabin and boom for low-visibility conditions, and a rotating light and siren to make clear that this is an emergency vehicle.
Heaters and an electric ignition allow the vehicle to operate even in polar climates.
Three additional hydraulic take-offs provide power for accessories, which can be carried on a trailer using a towing hook with a capacity of 15 tonnes.
This truly exceptional vehicle also includes a people platform supporting a weight of 800 kg.
The customised vehicle is also distinguished by its blue livery, the same colour as THW uniforms.
At a ceremony in February at Dieci Deutschland’s Giessen headquarters, Tiedemann handed over 13 vehicles, each intended for one regional unit of the THW.
Under an agreement with the federal interior ministry, it will deliver a further 23 vehicles by the end of October 2018. More meetings with ministry representatives will be held during 2019 to agree THW’s requirements as part of its vehicle modernisation programme, and we expect to see further Dieci models proudly sporting the organisation’s blue livery.
THE BUNDESANSTALT TECHNISCHES HILFSWERK
The series of floods that struck central Europe in 2002 and 2013 were the worst of the 21st century. They had serious effects in Austria, the Czech Republic, and Germany, where Dresden was repeatedly inundated. Looking back at pictures from the German floods, it’s hard not to notice the many people in distinctive blue and yellow uniforms providing help and restoring essential services.
The THW was formed in the 1950s, at the height of the Cold War, to assist the public if a real war broke out. Presently, as part of the country’s civil defence system, it specialises in supplying technical and logistical support in all kinds of emergency situation. Its huge and varied collection of equipment can cope with most catastrophes, and its 80,000 men and women, 79,000 of them unpaid, work in 668 local units across the country.
If a disaster does occur, these deploy immediately to assist other organisations such as the Red Cross, fire brigade, army and police, and then help to repair and rebuild infrastructure and get life back to normal.
The THW also carries out missions abroad, for example in 2000, when it restored power to several French hospitals destroyed by a storm, and in 2005, when its 15 high-powered pumps helped to dry out parts of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.