This will be a challenging article for me, as my and the native language in our fire station is German. OK – the primary language spoken in the Wörth am Rhein Volunteer Fire Department is Palatinate German and the second language is German 😀 , but anyways – all technical and firefighter words I’ve learned were teached in some kind of a German language to me. I’ll try my best – but no warranty that things are called the same by a native English speaking firefighter. As you might remember, I use the blog to practice writing in English as well. Here’s my chance 🙂
Current situation in Germany
As the full-time mates, the volunteers need to practice quite regularly (usually once a week) as well. In Germany the cities only need to have full-time firefighters, if they have more than 90,000-100,000 citizens (depends on the state in Germany). Means that most of the cities and the many villages “only” have a volunteer fire department. May be surprising or weird for some people, but it’s working really good – even if nearly every volunteer fire department needs more volunteers. But as the first firefighting organisations were made up of volunteers and things are working well, why to change it?
Our last practice, yesterday
Yesterday we did a standard practice to train “Firefighter Official regulation Nr #3” German: Feuerwehrdienstvorschrift 3 – short FwDV 3. This regulation is about units in firefighting and helping (e.g. vehicle extraction, supporting paramedics, saving a person out of an elevator etc.). The situation is still a little bit difficult due to Covid-19 – but practicing is possible again.
Our unit leader decided to practice firefighting in a new development area. As it was ~30°C on that evening, many local residents were watching our practice in front of their houses. (Pretty good advertising, though 😀 )
We assumed that the neighboring field would be on fire. Therefore we used the turntable ladder with its installed monitor (flow rate up to 1,600l/min), a squad with a fire hose (size C) and a portable monitor to fight the fire. I’ve been at the “hose squad” – according to FwDV 3 we had to get the water from a fire hydrant to the water distributor. After we supplied the fire engine and the distributor with water from the underfloor hydrant, the unit leader sent us to help the firefighting squad. Therefore we build up a fire hose (size B) and connected it to a monitor with a stand, to firefight the “burning” field. With its standard nozzle, this monitor has a flow rate up to 950l/min.
When the fire was successfully fought off, we unmounted our equipment and mounted it back at the truck. After such a long time without practice (Covid-19) I really enjoyed it.
Join your local volunteer fire department
I can only recommend to check out your local volunteer fire department. I’ve been 28 when I joined the firefighters and I really enjoyed every day. You will learn new stuff every single day, stay healthy as you will have to lift heavy equipment and of course the best – help your neighbors, or foreigners. The other volunteer mates will look forward to meet you!
P.S. If you think, you can’t help, as you’re afraid of height or other things, I thought the same – it’s absolutely not true, there are so many different jobs to do – give it a chance and check it out!