From the hospital train to the bus, transport and rescue travel by road. How is Italy placed?

(To Gianluca Celentano)

In the past, in the mid-800th century, it was mainly military hospital trains that took care of rescue and collective transport, albeit with limited journeys, as in the case of the Crimean war, where the track gauge reached Poland. Furthermore, the railway lines could be detonated, preventing the advancement of convoys, including medical ones.

Revolutionary was the introduction of the air health service which was perfected in the last century and remains the best criterion for rapid interventions to this day.

With the technological improvement, another more widespread system has evolved, able to make available several mobile square meters, versatile and equipped for transport / rescue, the use of specially equipped buses.

Irizar for the authorities: Kuwait Fire Force

The news comes from Irizar's headquarters in Ormaiztegi, a town in the north of Spain on the border with France. Here, several bus platforms are produced before being sent to the branches for outfitting, including Italy with the Rimini plant. There are 13 production plants in Spain, Morocco, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa in a group that has about three thousand employees.

The flagship production is distinguished by the Irizar versions i6 e i8, aesthetically similar and both created for long-distance comfort services.

We have already met this brand by reporting the news of the supply of 34 coaches to the Army and Financial Police (see article).

Particular of this production to lighten mass and consumption, is the use of a light self-supporting body called "Integral" an optional alternative to the classic and sturdy load-bearing frame that is always available.

It is an extra luxury “blue car” fitted into an Irizar i6 named Premium and commissioned by the Kuwait Ministry of the Interior.

The 12,20 meter long platform is built on a Mercedes chassis with which Irizar collaborates for the diffusion of its automotive products in the Middle East.

The bus will be used for the movement of diplomatic personnel and the country's military leaders, however we do not know that the structure has any level of armor, but only an abundant degree of additional comfort to that expected in series production.

The seats, in the customization for Kuwait, are lower to offer more space for the passengers. The armchairs with leg rests replace the traditional seats and, in the rear part, a sitting area with seven seats has been created around a table for meetings.

Internally there are real treated wood furniture and 220V power sockets as well as USB sockets on each chair. There is a bathroom, a large refrigerator and a kitchen with a coffee maker.

The windows are athermic and darkened and, Irizar declares, that the Hispacold air conditioning system is able to bring coolness to temperatures above 50 ºC, guaranteeing the purification of the ECO3 air (bacteria and viruses).

Curiosity: Will you remember that extra-luxurious and first ever SUV produced by Lamborghini? A little 'LMV and a little' a "Rambo Lambo" named Lamborghini LM002 (see article). Also in this case, the main customer was the Middle East and, according to rumors, it seems that Irizar created the bodywork and interiors before sending the prestigious SUV to set up the suspension, mechanics and engine to Sant'Agata Bolognese.

Sanitary bus

Denmark bought an Irizar i8 with three axles and 14 meters in length, designed exclusively for blood donation in several Danish municipalities. The flexibility and adaptation of the spaces made it possible to create a Blodbussen which is already terminating at Odense public hospital after blood collection in the city.

According to the news, also in Värmland in Sweden, there are two Irizars on Scania chassis of 15 meters delivered by OEM in an outpatient version. They are equipped with operational medical facilities and each can hold six stretchers and manage 18 patients relying on three members of the medical crew.

Also for the high bio-containment

Unique in the world is the Crossway Iveco long distance bus customized by the Red Cross for transport in biocontainment, a need that materialized during the Covid pandemic.

It can carry 41 patients and inside there is a negative pressure chamber able to differentiate itself from the external one by passing through special filters.

Three filtration motors are positioned in the luggage compartments capable of sucking in an air volume of more than 450 m3 so; they are equipped with a particulate filter, activated carbon filter, ULPA filter (Ultra-Low Penetration Air), HEPA filter (High Efficiency Particulate Air) and plasma filter.

Feuerwehrbusse even in Germany it is a reality

In Germany for some time now, buses with special fittings have been carrying out operational tasks in metropolitan emergencies.

With special equipment they are used together with the helicopters for the operational intervention, guaranteeing the transport of greater quantities of medical devices, operators and technical equipment, which translates into a greater number of patients treated during the first hour of the emergency.

It is a concept of rapidity of use compared to the fixed installation of PMA tensile structures, but above all able to move reducing the number of emergency vehicles.

Externally equipped with institute livery, blue strobe and siren signals, they are alerted by the operations center if the intervention involves a certain number of victims. In fact, in emergencies, the German firefighters also play a health role.

When the emergency is activated, the operators slide down from the pole in the barracks and, in addition to boarding fire engines, ambulances and vans, they can start the Mercedes Citaro bus with the operational equipment.

The bus is 12 meters long but there are also articulated versions at 18 meters for the same purpose.

The vehicle can help up to 12 patients having all the equipment required in an ambulance for advanced rescue between seats and stretchers, to which is added a lung ventilator and a pharmacy.

It is curious to know that German means of the Feuerwehrbusse in addition to the classic numbering are called in jargon Florian, name deriving from the patron saint of firefighters San Floriano.

4x4 bus

It may seem strange, but in addition to the amphibious buses that dive into the water carrying tourists from one shore to the other, there are also those off road to tackle rough, muddy or rocky terrain like a jeep and are not necessarily short, if anything very high.

Iveco realizes the Tonto 4x4 and CIMO II MD 4x4, vehicles from 12 up to 30 seats for adventure, which can also be equipped for rescue, built on the Eurocargo 4x4 or Trakker platform. But it is Mercedes who amazes with a Rotel-bus, a hotel on wheels built on the chassis of the truck Actros 6x6. With its 510 hp its large living module that takes the place of the traditional container or cargo bed, contains 20 seats, plus 21 separate mini berths and with a window for the night.

In Asia and the USA, there are even traditional night buses but completely redesigned in the interior. They are called "sleeping bus" that is buses set up for sleeping. The trip involves the transport of only one third of the maximum capacity of travelers expected in a traditional conformation, and the settings are really curious: along the corridor there are bunks with cot, radio and TV and a window, a common bathroom and a kitchen.

Some are also arranged on two floors, the characteristic ones double deck and, the degree of comfort, privacy and cost of the ticket change according to the type of accommodation chosen, reclining chair, mini double or single room or simple cot with divider. Unfortunately in Europe and in Italy this solution seems not yet approved.

Even in backstage of a Formula 1 race the Motorhomes or the camper buses available to drivers and staff are countless, highlighting the versatility of these interesting solutions also as a ready-to-use tool.

Torsus Praetorian 4x4 by MAN VW

Torsus is the business branch of Pulsar Expo sro, a company founded in 2017 in the Czech Republic for the construction of off-road buses heavy-duty. It faces global markets to provide special means for public utility, governmental or simple customer services.

Torsus can accommodate up to 35 people, and has a height of 400 mm with a 6,9-liter six-cylinder diesel engine and, taken as a whole, there is a guarantee of reliability, maintainability, value and robustness being a MAN icon. (Volkswagen group) which deals with mechanical components and engines.

Interesting for theoff-road is the deactivation of active ABS up to 40 km / h in heavy sections to optimize stability, space and safety. In short, the final result is not too far from the MAN TGM TG-M 18.330 4x4 truck.

Maintenance of military vehicles

Militarily, the choice of bus platforms for operational use could cover different roles including a large and well-equipped command post rather than a radio station, but perhaps we run a little too much with the imagination. In fact, the Undersecretary of Defense Hon. Giorgio Mulè was clear in his speech on the Land Forces during the round table of last July 5th: "Urgent interventions are needed!".

Beyond how the mass media can describe the state of health of our army, it emerges that the expenditure for the maintenance of the vehicle fleet is seriously underfunded. A disturbing outburst that means striving at regimental level to ensure the functioning of the vehicles, relegating to the head of the department (now more "manager" than commander), the delicate task of making choices often of immoral priority for his community.

Photo: Torsus / web / Red Cross / Radosław Botev