Dear members, friends and supporters,

2019 was the second year in a row in which a dry period confronted fire brigades at home and abroad with a partic­u­larly large number of partic­u­larly fierce vege­ta­tion fires. As in the previ­ous year
we found that our almost 20 years of exper­tise, espe­cially in vege­ta­tion fire­fight­ing train­ing, was in demand. We are very pleased that we can provide support here, but I would also like to make it clear that nation­wide train­ing for public fire brigades cannot and must not actu­ally be our task. Espe­cially when the demand for fire brigade train­ing exceeds our capac­i­ties in terms of time and person­nel. This is where govern­ment agen­cies are needed. Fortu­nately, there are also clear signs of improve­ment in this direction.

In our view, the lack of tacti­cal foun­da­tions in forest fire­fight­ing is also a cause for concern. The tech­nol­ogy is avail­able and train­ing in this area is also increas­ing - but a funda­men­tal defi­n­i­tion, test­ing and estab­lish­ment of oper­a­tional tacti­cal prin­ci­ples would have to precede this. To meet this pent-up demand, we held a work­shop in Octo­ber with numer­ous experts from Germany and abroad. The fright­en­ing conclu­sion was: we often don’t know what we don’t know!

Here I see it as @fire’s special task to uncover this miss­ing knowl­edge, eval­u­ate it with regard to the tacti­cal envi­ron­ment in Germany and then pass on the new find­ings. We invite all those who are inter­ested in improv­ing the perfor­mance of the fire brigades and thus also the safety of the emer­gency services to partic­i­pate in this process.

The second area of @fire, rescue oper­a­tions after earth­quakes and natural disas­ters, was also very active in 2019. In prepa­ra­tion for the IEC certi­fi­ca­tion of the United Nations, we conducted on a
train­ing area near Paris success­fully carried out a 24-hour full-scale exer­cise. There were clear synergy effects in terms of expe­ri­ence abroad, lead­er­ship, logis­tics and commu­ni­ca­tion, which makes our work under the motto “fire­fight­ers help world­wide” much more effec­tive, even if tactics and tech­nol­ogy are funda­men­tally differ­ent in our areas of “forest fire” and “earth­quake”.

Jan Südmersen