Emergency Responders - Skoda Serving On The Frontlines

Oneshift Editorial Team
10 Jun 2020

As the world deals with the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is heartening to know that frontline health workers have been steadfast in shouldering the herculean effort, ensuring that those affected receive proper medical care. They are in-essence, our most important line of defence against this dreaded disease.

Alongside health workers, auto manufacturers around the world have come together to help take up the slack in the production of vital medical equipment, like ventilators and masks from traditional medical equipment manufacturers.

But beyond producing equipment for snap emergencies like the very one we are in now, automotive manufacturers already have for over 100 years been involved with supplying vehicles for emergency services.

In 1906, Laurin & Klement (the predecessor to the now famous Skoda brand) built their first ambulance, intended to be used in the First World War. The Laurin & Klement Voiturette A model, in which the concept was later on expanded to include a more powerful 2.0 litre 8.8kW engine, was able to carry up to four stretchers. These ambulances were vital in transporting wounded soldiers from the trenches to field hospitals behind the front lines.

By 1925, the company was acquired by industrial giant, Skoda Works, and was now known as Skoda Auto. Emergency vehicles were at this stage still built in two stages. For Skoda, they would supply the chassis and powertrain, while independent coach builders like Oldřich Uhlík in Prague, would go on to construct the bodywork.

Currently, the modern and very versatile Skoda Yeti is the most commonly utilised ambulance in the Czech Republic. As a quick response emergency vehicle, the compact Yeti surely has big shoes to fill, and it does the job well, helping to save countless lives. 

The European Union, which largely utilises the Rendez-Vous System, involves specialist trauma doctors who travel to an accident or emergency site as a first responder. This system greatly improves the chances of survivability of victims not only through stabilisation, but also immediate treatment, before a patient-carrying ambulance transports the patient to a hospital.

More recently, the Skoda Kodiaq, the Czech manufacturer’s largest SUV to date, has been included in these duties. Like the Yeti, the Kodiaq’s all-wheel drive capabilities ensures that it can travel through difficult terrain. The Kodiaq’s improved custom emergency equipment stowage, coupled with even more internal space, makes it a choice first-responder vehicle among many EU nations.

Carrying its weight, even in demanding conditions, the Skoda Karoq is also a trusted workhorse with the Bavarian Alps rescue services. The Karoq’s off-road prowess, roominess and safety, are key factors for their choice.

One distinctive advantage Skoda’s service vehicles have, is that they are planned and customised within their production facility. Considerations are made during development for stowage and also the rethinking of how the suspension is set-up to deal with the extra weight they carry, and to suit the role they are built for. Even simpler fixtures like additional lighting which can in many cases look like an afterthought, are neatly positioned at factory level. 

Not just ideal as ambulances… Skoda automobiles are also well-suited for different emergency applications. They are often found in important roles of duty, like the ones used by the British Police and Fire Service. 

How about a bullet and ballistics-resistant armoured Skoda Superb Estate?

Whatever applications they are, Skoda offers Simply Clever practicality, backed by reliable engineering, and value where it counts the most.

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