“Our vehicle fleet has to be in top shape so that we can fulfill our mission, including compliance with legislation,”explains DRK rescue service director Gerhard Fuchs.
The DRK has taken over emergency rescue and patient transport in the Böblingen district—24 hours a day, 7 days a week—on behalf of the state of Baden-Württemberg. The district extends across 618 square kilometers and has around 400,000 inhabitants. To cover the area, the DRK operates four rescue stations in Sindelfingen, Leonberg, Herrenberg, and Malmsheim, where the rescue service vehicles are stationed.
Always ready to drive
Ambulance services are a key component of the system on which everyone can depend. To guarantee rapid emergency medical care, every movement must be correct, every route must be memorized, and everything must work perfectly. “There is a legally stipulated time limit for assistance, which states that the ambulance must reach the scene of the emergency within 15 minutes in 95 percent of all callouts, regardless of the volume of traffic. In 2019, we were number one in Baden-Württemberg,” says Fuchs proudly. To clarify the timings: around 35 seconds after the emergency call is received, the emergency teams are sitting in the vehicle.
The approximately 260 DRK rescue workers in the district of Böblingen attend around 1,300 callouts per month. And to ensure that the ambulances, emergency doctors’ vehicles, patient transport vehicles, and the baby emergency ambulance are roadworthy too, the DRK Böblingen district association has its own workshop manager, Werner Klauss. Klauss is a master automotive technician and electrician and is responsible for the entire fleet, which consists of around 30 vehicles and covers well over 400,000 kilometers a year.
Werner Klauss has a challenging task: every vehicle must be ready for use 24/7. And that’s no easy feat with four rescue stations spread out across the district. “These are emergency vehicles, and they’re treated as such. When human lives are at stake, the equipment must be able to take the strain,” explains Klauss. That’s why his more frequent tasks include changing brake disks and brake pads. However, Klauss is also qualified to carry out repairs to the vehicle bodies as well as to their electrical and electronic systems.
Of course, Werner Klauss can’t look after the fleet all by himself. DRK Böblingen therefore cooperates with a large automotive workshop that carries out regular inspections and tows vehicles away after an accident. “We have a good and very reliable partner that even puts in a night shift if it’s really urgent. Together we’re doing everything we can to ensure that our rescue vehicles arrive quickly,” says Klauss.