News about WERMA

17 Jan 2022

Success Story: Every second counts!

In Bad Säckingen, red flashing beacons made by WERMA warn citizens when the fire service is called out

For many years, firefighters in Bad Säckingen have driven their private cars to the Obersäckingen fire station along the "Murger Weg" road to avoid losing valuable time in traffic on the main roads, which frequently caused problems in the past. Red warning lights and signs have now been installed to inform and warn pedestrians and cyclists in good time when the fire service is deployed.

"When we receive an alert, every second counts," says Mark Jagenow. The 40-year-old has volunteered as a deputy commander for six years. He is employed full-time as a clerk and equipment manager at the Bad Säckingen fire station. He is a firefighter through and through and explains: "The law requires my crewmates and I to be at the scene with at least nine squad members no later than 10 minutes after the emergency call has been made. Anyone who is familiar with the traffic in Bad Säckingen can imagine that this is often a huge challenge". The exposed location of the Obersäckingen fire station only makes matters worse.

The eye of the needle: The Murger Weg road

The Murger Weg road runs to the south of the railway line and is closed to traffic. It is a popular walking and cycling route, especially on sunny days. However, since the fire station was opened in 1977, firefighters have been allowed to use it in their private vehicles when on their way to deployment to avoid losing valuable time on the busy main roads. This poses a potential risk or safety hazard for unsuspecting families, pedestrians and cyclists as well as for the firefighters rushing to respond to an incident.

Furthermore, many pedestrians were opposed to cars using the road and it was a common cause of complaints. After all, firefighters cannot and must not indicate their status on their private vehicles. "Often, the only thing we can do is to briefly stop and explain, which of course has a negative effect on the required response times" says Jagenow.

"We urgently needed a solution"

"We quickly agreed that things could not go on like this", says Christoph Meyer, who has worked for the volunteer fire brigade for 15 years and is also head of I&C, communications and metering point operations at the Bad Säckingen municipal utilities. "It was simply dangerous and unsatisfactory for all parties." The Bad Säckingen municipal utilities and the fire service put their heads together to come up with ideas, suggestions and possibilities to rectify the problem. A solution was quickly found: They decided to equip the Murger Weg road with signals so that anyone present can instantly see that a fire service operation is taking place.

Based on this idea, they developed a comprehensive warning system. The aim was to install warning lights along the Murger Weg road that flash for a ten-minute period as soon as the fire service receives an alarm. They also wanted to attach warning and information signs that clearly and distinctly describe the meaning of the lights. "We all agreed that if pedestrians are given prompt warning or indication of the call-out, they will give emergency crews the space they need to reach the fire station quickly and safely so that they can get to the fire service vehicles and respond to the call", says Jagenow.

"Everyone can see these lights!"

"We immediately started looking for suitable lights", reports Meyer. "And we found what we were looking for at WERMA!" He adds: "Working with them was simply great. They gave us fantastic advice in advance so we are sure that we have found exactly the right product". The municipal utilities selected four attention-grabbing flashing beacons from the EvoSIGNAL series. They are not only impressively large and extremely bright – they can also be easily seen from a distance and in direct sunlight – they are also quick and easy to install and maintenance-free, thanks to long-lasting LEDs. Jagenow says: "Everyone can see these lights!"

When asked how the implementation went, Meyer answers: "We found the right lights very quickly but actually completing the project was much more difficult". It took a long time to get from developing the concept to actually installing the lights. Christoph Meyer explains: "Everybody from the public order office to the traffic police, Deutsche Bahn and the roads and traffic authorities had demands, expectations and guidelines that had to be followed and complied with. Some of this was very tedious. But we achieved our goal in the end and we are very pleased that we now have such a professional and well-functioning warning system".

Present situation: The lights flash every time a call goes out.

Red, attention-grabbing flashing beacons made by WERMA have now been installed on four street lamps along the Murger Weg road. Additional information signs explain the connection between firefighting operations and the beacons: They read: "Attention: When lights flash, firefighters are responding to a call. Private vehicles will use this road to reach the fire station".

"We decided to attach the signs directly by each beacon because explaining the lights at the start of the road would not be effective", says Jagenow. "For example, if the alarm goes off while a cyclist is already on the 1.4-km-long track or overlooks the sign at the start of the road, they will not know what the flashing lights mean".

His colleague Meyer adds: "We have had consistently positive feedback from the community. And since we put up the beacons and signs, we haven't had any further problems on the Murger Weg road". The fire service is certain that this was a sound investment that secures the safety of citizens and emergency crews. He concludes: "It’s great that all our efforts have paid off!"

About the Bad Säckingen fire service

Bad Säckingen is located directly on the Swiss border on the banks of the river Rhine. It has around 17,000 inhabitants and a historic old town that dates back more than 1200 years. Bad Säckingen is also known for its historic bridge, the longest covered wooden bridge in Europe, and for its baroque cathedral. The Trumpeter's Castle houses the city's collection of trumpets, one that is probably unique throughout Europe . These genuine treasures need to be protected alongside the inhabitants and guests of the community. The Bad Säckingen volunteer fire department has existed since 10 June 1859 for just this reason.

The city of Bad Säckingen is home to one of Baden’s oldest fire brigades. Today it consists of four departments: Bad Säckingen, Wallbach, Harpolingen and Rippolingen. For over 150 years, citizens of the city have volunteered to ensure the safety of people, animals and the city's material assets. Today, the squad numbers over 200 members who are all dedicated to their fire service, from the youth fire brigade and the emergency response team to the reserves.

Press contact

Udo Skarke
General Manager • WERMA USA

Tel. +1 (470) 361 / 0600