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New tilt-hook trucks will modernize U.S. Army fire stations in Europe, providing them the flexibility to respond to different emergency situations.
New tilt-hook trucks will modernize U.S. Army fire stations in Europe, providing them the flexibility to respond to different emergency situations. (Cassandra Kardeke / U.S. Army)

Army fire departments across Europe are receiving new trucks and equipment that officials say will improve emergency response capabilities in the event of a crisis, whether natural or man-made.

Tilt-hook trucks and new equipment were recently delivered to three fire departments, said Donna Dean, spokeswoman for the 221st Base Support Battalion in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Wiesbaden was one of two communities to get the new vehicles and emergency-response containers. The other community was Miesau. Mannheim already had the truck and has now received the containers.

Eleven other fire departments have received tilt-hook trucks and three more are due to receive theirs within the next few months.

“Instead of having regular firetrucks and other special purpose, low-use vehicles, the tilt-hook trucks can be tailored with separate containers with water for firefighting or the equipment for situations involving hazardous materials or weapons of mass destruction or rescue missions,” Sigurd Mack said in a news release by Installation Management Agency-Europe.

The flatbed trucks come equipped with electronic cranes that can swap out containers depending on the incident, said Mack, the IMA-E fire protection specialist.

The approach gives Army fire departments the flexibility to rapidly adapt to any crisis.

“We are using technology as much as possible to be as prepared as possible,” Mack said.

The WMD container, for example, includes protective gear for first responders and decontamination capabilities.

Money to pay for the new trucks and containers has come out of the last two budgets, according to Mack. In all, the military is spending $6.8 million to pay for the trucks, containers and training.

Mack said the upgrade will save the Army roughly $50,000 per container when compared with the cost of acquiring the traditional response vehicles.

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