Which sports car is exactly as fast as the fire department?

For example, the command vehicle of the new Porsche plant fire brigade at the traditional Zuffenhausen site.

The Cayenne Coupé, wrapped in a striking fluorescent color with blue light bars and front flashers, has been deployed together with an emergency fire engine and a small emergency vehicle since the end of 2021 when an alarm is triggered at the plant.

"There are operations every day - even when there is no fire," says Michael Bayer, head of the plant fire brigade.

This ranges from successful resuscitation after medical emergencies (all firefighters also have rescue service training) to alarms from the fire alarm system and various forms of assistance.

In December 2020, the sports car manufacturer announced that it was setting up its own fire protection unit at the main plant, and the plant fire brigade was set up last year.

A total of 35 firefighters in two watch departments are currently responsible for safety.

Factory fire brigades have a long tradition in large companies in the automotive industry.

They already existed before the First World War, for example at the predecessor companies of Mercedes-Benz in Mannheim and Untertürkheim.

Bosch set up a corresponding fire protection unit in 1917.

There have also been corresponding units at Porsche for a long time: in the Leipzig plant, in the development center in Weissach, where Michael Bayer headed the plant fire brigade from 2019 to 2021, and in the Nardò technical center in Italy.

arrival time of less than five minutes

The reason why the sports car manufacturer was able to do without its own fire brigade for so long at the main plant, the oldest parts of which date back to 1938, is due in particular to the "long-standing and very, very good connection to the Stuttgart fire brigade", says Florian Haacke.

The 49-year-old security manager actually comes from the energy industry.

He has been working for the Stuttgart sports car brand for two years and is in charge of corporate security.

The partnership between municipal fire protection professionals and colleagues from industry has a long tradition in Stuttgart: the founding of the Bosch plant fire brigade dates back to fire chief Wendelin Mayr being assigned to the Bosch plant in Feuerbach from the professional fire brigade.

At Porsche, the structure of the production site and the change in drive technology were the decisive factors in establishing a plant fire brigade in Zuffenhausen.

Porsche has expanded its main plant in recent years, and electric drives with their high-voltage components are challenging fire safety.

"Some of our location is built over several times, the plant extends not only in area but also in height - that's why detailed local knowledge is helpful," explains Andreas Kaiser, Head of Group Fire Protection at Porsche.

The 49-year-old works security guard and fireman is also the head of plant security in Zuffenhausen and knows the structure of the site very well.

"With our own fire brigade, we have an arrival time of less than five minutes, which is a significant factor when it comes to averting danger,"

The momentum of the new beginning can be felt everywhere in the plant fire brigade.

In February 2022, delivery of the new turnout clothing in lime green with red warning stripes began, which has a particularly high level of protection against electrical arcing.

In addition, a new station is being built, which is to be occupied in a good two years.

Until then, the firefighters, their vehicles and equipment have been housed in a Plant 2 building.

The fleet will be expanded before the new building is completed.

In addition to the vehicles mentioned, the fire brigade currently has two fully electric cars for small operations and logistics.

A swap body is added as the next resource.

Hardly any support for the public fire brigade

A respiratory protection workshop is also planned for the new building.

In the future, the breathing apparatus of the plant fire brigades from Zuffenhausen and nearby Weissach will be serviced there.

The new fire station at the development center will keep the fire extinguishers at both plants in good condition.

The distribution is efficient and, in contrast to an emergency call, the minute does not matter in this work.

"We don't need both workshops at both locations and create synergies," emphasizes Florian Haacke.

Whoever asks around at fire brigades with full-time staff, learns again and again about the difficulties in filling vacancies with qualified personnel.

What was it like in Zuffenhausen, where you had to come up with a workforce of 35 emergency workers from scratch?

"Many fire brigades lack employees," says Michael Bayer.

"But we didn't have any problems recruiting," says the head of the plant fire brigade.

The new unit certainly also benefited from the fact that Porsche is considered a popular employer in the region.

Will the Cayenne Coupé and the other vehicles of the new plant fire brigade be seen more often in Stuttgart?

That is unlikely to be the case.

Unlike the plant fire brigades in the chemical industry, who support public firefighters with the TUIS transport accident information and assistance system, the plant fire brigades in the automotive industry primarily focus on protecting their own plants.

However, they exchange information with one another on a regular basis.

Porsche also offers training courses for public fire services.

If a Porsche is involved in an accident, the emergency services know even better what to do.

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