The need for a works fire service is recognized soon after Rotax-Werk AG moves permanently to Gunskirchen. Ensuring the safety of employees, the works and the environment is a priority, and Fritz Tinwald is thus tasked with establishing a works fire service. By June 2, 1951, it is ready to go and the very first firefighters, 18 volunteers, arrive for the fire service’s first meeting. Practical training for the firefighters, and the necessary infrastructure, are continually extended and improved from that point on. Weekly practices, the installation of fire detection sirens, a fire water pond and last but not least an in-house fire service garage with hose tower, enable speedy and effective intervention at the Gunskirchen site in the event of an emergency. It is a necessary response to the increasing mechanization of production and the associated increase in fire protection measures. In 1964 Rotax-Werk AG acquires its first fire protection officer in the person of Karl Luttinger. Five years later the works fire service is expanded to 24 members and thanks to cooperation with local firefighters receives training to become experts in firefighting.
Ready for any emergency: The Works Fire Protection GroupOrganized fire protection at the Gunskirchen site
The original firemen
From a fire water pool through emergency vehicles to a company-wide sprinkler and alarm system
“Protect employees, the company and the environment” runs the guiding principle of the works fire service, a motto that is still valid today, even if requirements have had to change and adapt to modes of production. The fire service group’s technical equipment is continually improved to include fire prevention, and provision of water for extinguishing fires, but also the development of a fire service vehicle fleet – starting with the TLF-A 2400 water tender, which is stationed in the works garage. Alongside better firefighting equipment, employee safety is also improved through fire prevention and fire alarm measures. Over time, increased production capacity leads to the extension of the works and the construction of new production halls, which are also equipped with the latest fire alarm and siren systems. Today the works is monitored by around 1,972 alarms, which enable rapid communication with and deployment of firefighters, both in-house and from the Gunskirchen area.
But even with regard to firefighting, Gunskirchen brings cutting-edge systems to bear, systems that are developed and installed as part of modernization initiatives and plant upgrades. By the late 1990s, there is a sprinkler system that protects over 26,000m2 of work space and is later expanded to cover 43,000m2. Endurance test areas are monitored by special noise protection systems and a water mist fire protection system.
Deployment from 1951 to the present day
Fortunately the fire protection group can look back on very few large fires over its nearly 70-year history. Firefighters are deployed on an average of around 40 call-outs per year. It is the commitment of every single individual that ensures many of the call-outs pass off without incident. On the one hand the expertise of the fire protection group, which has protected operational safety for almost 70 years now, on the other hand Rotax employees, whose sense of personal responsibility and compliance with operating directives minimize the risk of accidents and fire.
- In 2001 the Fire Protection Group acquires a Bombardier Traxter with a 27 HP Rotax 511 engine, which has been converted into a specialized fire truck. (BPR-Rotax company archives)
- Training on the works site with the Gunskirchen and Fernreith fire departments in 1968. (BPR-Rotax company archives)
- Regular evacuation drills are held to ensure the safety of employees in the event of an emergency. (BPR-Rotax company archives)
- Historical photos of the Fire Protection Group from the 1960s. (BPR-Rotax company archives)
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