Proven over 40 years: the G-Class in rescue operations with the DLRG Frankfurt am Main.
The performance promises made in the world of commercial vehicles are extravagant at times - and numerous. They are most credible when they concern vehicles that have already proven their operational ability in the past: something that is particularly true in the case of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. In 2021, the new model series 464 was introduced. It continues the long success story of the off-road vehicle for rescue and special operations. One of the chapters in this story involves the DLRG Frankfurt (German Life Saving Association), where the G-Class spent 40 years undertaking vital work, thereby saving lives. DLRG member Philipp Hericks gave us a brief outline of how the vehicle came to Frankfurt, how it was used and what makes it the ideal partner in water rescue situations.
Water rescue, disaster control, first aid: since its foundation in 1920, the DLRG Frankfurt has mastered every challenge. 2700 members deliver 50,000 hours of voluntary work on the river Main and its tributaries every year. For 40 years, the rescuers have been accompanied by a vehicle whose reliability has secured it a place in the association's history: the Mercedes-Benz G-Class.
When the water comes.
30 January 1995: the Main can no longer be tamed. The biggest flood since 1926, with the water rising to a level of 5.47 m, puts all the roads along the river under water. The Mayor of Frankfurt at the time, Andreas von Schoeler, triggers a disaster alert. More than 1000 volunteers are in action. The DLRG, too, moves out with its G-Class to assist Frankfurt citizens in the flooded areas.
In an emergency, every second, every pair of hands and every deployable piece of equipment counts. Thanks to its high payload, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class has always played a valuable role in transporting crew and personal protective equipment, then as now. The transport of emergency personnel, boats and heavy equipment is only one of the many capabilities of the off-road vehicle when it comes to water rescue.
When operating in rough terrain, the G-Class demonstrates its unrivalled off-road expertise. The all-wheel drive and differential locks are essential, especially on the soft ground commonly experienced in conjunction with severe weather conditions. With the G-Class, the rescuers from the Main can reach the scene of the incident without any problems - no matter what the way there looks like. The off-road vehicle's high fording depth also makes it invaluable in water rescue situations, especially in flooded areas.
In a class of its own.
1979 saw the introduction of the G-Class model 230 G, featuring a four-cylinder in-line engine, a displacement of 2.3 l and an engine output of 66 kw / 90 hp. Over the course of ongoing development, the interior equipment was refined and the range of optional extras steadily expanded. Not least for this reason, the G-Class grew increasingly popular with rescue organisations.
The German state of Hessen therefore also decided to allocate a 230 GE G-Class to the Wiesbaden district in 1983. In 1992 the off-roader was then taken over by a delighted DLRG Frankfurt. Not least because of its effect as a "figurehead", the off-road vehicle was much sought-after. Above all, however, the G-Class already stood for absolute reliability and unconditional mobility, even back then.
In the first years of its career, the vehicle was assigned to the diving group of the DLRG Frankfurt. However, word of the G-Class's capabilities quickly spread, so it was additionally used by the boat group before finally being transferred to general use. There, the vehicle saw service with the seasonal rescue teams, who provide first aid during the summer months.
In every ending lies a new beginning.
In its last years of service, the main task of the G-Class was to provide technical assistance in the event of severe weather and flooding. "In the 40 years that the vehicle was in use with the DLRG in Frankfurt am Main, it was always absolutely reliable," reports Philipp Hericks, the public relations officer for the DLRG Frankfurt. In September 2021, the G-Class went into well-deserved retirement, due to its advanced age. An almost symbolic moment, as the new G-Class model celebrated its world premiere in Graz at the same time.