Brands explained / Helsinki
Race to the Finnish
What do you need to run a great ambulance service? In our series looking at the brands that make our lives work, we visited the City of Helsinki Rescue Department to find out. It employs 570 full-time rescue and emergency personnel and, in 2006, carried out almost 37,000 paramedic missions. The department designs and develops much of the equipment it uses in conjunction with leading manufacturers.
This Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 316 CDI is made by DaimlerChrysler – but with an interior designed by the Helsinki Rescue Department. There have been numerous Sprinter makeovers since its 1995 launch and it now comes in a variety of models. In 2001, it made its US debut. DaimlerChrysler’s revenues in 2006 were €151.6bn.
Founded by mountaineer Paul Petzl in 1965, this company specialises in making protective helmets for the emergency services, as well as equipment – such as ropes, anchors and harnesses – for rescue operations. Petzl has three sites in France, one branch in the US, 300 employees and an annual turnover of €70m.
Pensi Rescue was founded as a metal goods company in 1932 and started making emergency products in the 1970s, when Eero Vourenoja took over the busines from his father. His son, Niko, also works for the firm, which made the lightweight fibreglass stretcher in this picture too. The company has 12 employees and an annual turnover of €2m.
Julius Wilhelm Braun established B Braun in 1839, when he took over a pharmacy in Melsungen. He expanded into mail order for herbs and, today, Braun is the leading supplier of medical equipment, employing 31,000 people. The IV-infusion pump measures exact quantities of drugs and administers them intravenously.
Founded in 1882, Woikoski is Finland’s oldest industrial gas company, has 100 employees and a turnover of €30m. It sells medical gas equipment, such as the oxygen cylinder in the picture, as well as products for laboratories and the food industry. It has 13 branches and Clas Palmberg has been Woikoski’s managing director since 1978.
Founded in 1972 by Terence D Wall – who is still the CEO – Vital Signs, headquartered in Totowa, New Jersey, makes products for the medical and sleep therapy markets. Its Continuous Positive Airways Pressure respiratory facemask delivers up to 130 litres of oxygen per minute and ensures patient safety with its anti-asphyxia function.
The Finnish entrepreneur Heikke Salo founded Turvallisuus 2000 in 1994 after realising there was a gap in the market for medical rescue and assessment kits. His company now employs seven people, who also make fire blankets. Sweden, the Netherlands and Poland are the firm’s main markets for export.
Heat It, based in Rovaniemi, on the edge of the Arctic Circle, makes heat packs and other products to prevent hypothermia. It also makes first aid kits, both for private and professional use, and bespoke first aid kits for racing car tracks, public transport and Arctic conditions. Heat It also provides uniforms for emergency services.