Helping, rescuing and recovering often is a race against time – every minute counts and helpers need fast and reliable vehicles. Traditional horse-drawn carts were no longer capable of performing these tasks especially in the cities and the large industrial centres and conurbations which emerged as a result of the industrial revolution in the 19th century.
The automobile provided the required speed in rescue and ambulance operations – initially only in the expanding cities. Fire brigades were among the first to overcome the great reservations concerning the novel motor vehicle in the early 20th century and to put its advantages to good use. Health organizations also began using motor vehicles for the transport of the sick and injured around the turn of the century.
In the 1920s, municipal authorities like refuse disposal, road patrol and police discovered the automobile for themselves. In response, different special vehicles were developed for the most diversified operations of authorities and support organizations.
As the demands on speed and flexibility increased, the range of vehicles for helpers and rescuers was continually expanded from the 1950s. The first mobile intensive care unit was put into operation in 1957 – to take care of injured persons before taking them to the hospital. In the 1960s, the fire brigades for the first time used support vehicles with which oil or gasoline could be absorbed and hazardous substances recovered. At a later stage, the ever more complex environmental protection requirements called for new refuse-collecting vehicles which support environmentally compatible disposal and facilitate the dustmen’s hard work.
With their reliability, longevity and performance, Mercedes-Benz passenger cars and commercial vehicles have right from the start been the ideal vehicles for support, rescue and recovery operations. For many years, Mercedes-Benz has been offering the right special vehicle for every conceivable application and its special requirements.