The blue light shines on the new command and communication vehicle of the Maltese. Right next to it there is an antenna mast, which at the same time casts light around the vehicle. Inside, the expanded VW Crafter looks like a small news studio. The Maltese emergency services Maria Zelger (27) and Marie Hanemann (23) sit around a table with lots of touch screens. While Hanemann is on the phone or radioing other emergency services, Zelger only checks the card for a photo at the press conference. But Malteser’s new, high-tech vehicle will be used for the first time this Monday – for the ordnance disposal in Hanover-Misburg.
The vehicle was put into service on Friday: guests such as the additional fire brigade director Christoph Bahlmann, SPD party chairman Adis Ahmetovic and Probst Christian Wirz took a look at the new, mobile control center of the Maltese.
The VW Crafter Hut, which was developed by a specialist company, cost around 250,000 euros. The project was financed with 120,000 euros from state funds and donations. Also new are two supply trailers with which the Maltese will drive to disaster control areas.
Civil protection and ordnance disposal
“In the future, we will be leading up to 300 emergency services with this vehicle,” explains Christian Cossmann (32), association leader in the first management group at the Maltese. The vehicle is to be used in particular for disaster control: “Be it for operations such as the last one in the flood area in the Ahrweiler district or for the disposal of munitions.”
The emergency services are coordinated from the management vehicle. That is why there is a lot of technology on board such as radios, computers, touchscreens and other, larger screens on which, for example, maps can be displayed. A screen, a mobile workstation, can also be installed on the outside of the car: “We can hold briefings under the awning or even in a tent protected from view,” explains Cossmann.
In addition, both analog and digital radio are built in so that the others can be used in the event of a failure of one radio technology. “In a disaster situation like the one in the Ahrweiler district, there is no infrastructure,” says Cossmann, “that’s why the vehicle has to be completely self-sufficient.”
Consecrated vehicle: “A guardian angel is on board”
“I am happy and proud that the Maltese can really become rescuers with their professional technology IF they go to the rescue,” praised Probst Christian Wirz before he blessed the vehicle. At the vehicle consecration on Friday, he asked for God’s protection. The Blessing is especially important for the Maltese, whose conviction is based on a Christian image of God and man: “It is a nice feeling for us to know that a guardian angel will be in the roof of a disaster area during future missions,” said Charlotte Jarosch von Schweder from the Maltese.
“I can hardly wait to start my first assignment with the new management vehicle,” said Marie Hanemann, who has been volunteering with the Maltese for six years. “It will be a completely different kind of work,” the 23-year-old knows.
On Monday, the transport to the care centers and also the deployment in the evacuation centers will be organized from the new vehicle if 6,000 people have to leave their homes because of the bomb clearance in Misburg.
From Sophie Peschke