Ethekwini Municipality Buys Four MAN Fire Tenders

Faced with ongoing challenges to rationalise capital equipment costs and fight fires more effectively, Ethekwini Municipality (Durban) embarked on a journey three years ago to find the ideal fire tender (fire engine).

According to Lance Ravidutt, senior manager: Support Services, Ethekwini Fire & Emergency Response Services, the department’s fire engine fleet has traditionally consisted of imported customised chasses and drivetrains fitted with locally built bodies. An issue of concern was that chasses and drivetrains were generally not supported in South Africa which led to unacceptable downtime periods due to problems experienced in procuring the necessary parts from overseas.

Furthermore, the department had specific requirements regarding upgrades to the capacity of each fire tender, including greater crew-carrying capacity, greater chassis rigidity for harsh off-road conditions, prolonged PTO capacity and importantly, a chassis and factory-fitted body with local support.

After conducting research on several suppliers of fire tenders, Ravidutt and his team visited MAN in Germany and Rosenbauer in Austria and were relieved to discover that the alliance between the two suppliers has produced a fire engine that meets Ethekwini’s unique fire fighting requirements.

On 20 October 2011, Ethekwini Municipality will take ownership of four MAN TGM 18.280 Rosenbauer fire engines, marking the first entry of MAN into the fleet.

The MAN 18.280 is based on a commercial chassis specifically developed for fire fighting bodies. Both chassis and body are supported locally which mitigated the risk of prolonged downtime quite substantially.

The crew cab carries six personnel and the pump can easily run for up to 15 hours at significantly higher pressures than previous models. The air tanks that power the truck’s brakes are positioned unobtrusively, allowing the vehicle to carry 3000 litres of water.

Swift response to emergency situations demands an optimum vehicle power-to-weight ratio and the MAN TGM 18.280 is a class-leader in this regard, delivering 206kW (280hp) at 2400rpm from its six-cylinder Euro 3 engine with a gross vehicle mass of 2250kg. The new units are equipped with ABS braking systems and MAN’s TipMatic gearbox, making acceleration and braking that much smoother.

Durban’s fire fighters often have to control fires in harsh rural terrain and thus were looking for a special truck, a fire engine built Africa-tough. For Ravidutt and his team, MAN and Rosenbauer have certainly delivered, not only by supplying the ideal vehicle, but by having a comprehensive local support infrastructure to ensure maximum vehicle uptime.