Why are almost all firefighters white men

Occupation: firefighter

Chief Fire Inspector Jan Ole Unger explains why a firefighter is a great job. Firefighters are first and foremost firefighters, but they have a lot more to do

If there is a fire, the fire brigade is usually on site after a few minutes. It only works because everyone knows exactly what to do. Fire Chief Inspector Jan Ole Unger introduces the profession of fire fighter - and his tasks

GEOmini: Do you have a nice job?

Jan Ole Unger: Yes! We work in a team and always face new challenges. When we come to the fire station in the morning, we don't know what might happen in the afternoon or in the evening. We are always the last to be called: If no one knows what to do, the fire brigade will come.

GEOmini: How dangerous is the job?

Jan Ole Unger: We have sworn that we will save other people, if necessary at the risk of our own lives. However, we are trained to respond well and quickly. Dangerous situations don't happen every day, some never experience one.

GEOmini: Why do you go to the fire department?

Jan Ole Unger: It is the desire to help other people. For some, the thrill is sure to appeal.

GEOmini: What do you have to do before you go to the fire department?

Jan Ole Unger: Everyone has to learn a different profession first, for example a car mechanic, plumber or carpenter.

You should have already worked with tools and technical equipment.

GEOmini: What skills do new firefighters need?

Jan Ole Unger: You have to be interested in new things and be sporty: stamina, strength and speed are important. And of course you should have a head for heights!

GEOmini: Are there any arguments in the fire station?

Jan Ole Unger: Yes, like in a family! It is important that the dispute is discussed and settled. We always do pretty well.

Job description "firefighter"

The tasks of the fire brigade are varied: After severe storms, the emergency services are among the first to be on the go to remove kinked branches and fallen trees so that pedestrians and drivers can get through without any problems. Even if oil leaks after an accident and turns the road into a dangerous slide, the fire brigade is on hand to absorb the liquid.

Reliable rescuers

After car accidents, the fire brigade is often the only way to rescue people trapped in the wreckage. The rescue workers use special tools to free them from the tin prisons. Every firefighter can then provide first aid to the injured because that is also part of the training. But not only people can rely on the fire brigade: Animals are also rescued from emergency situations and returned to their owners.

Attention flood!

Even if there is another element causing trouble, where you don't actually think of the fire brigade first, the rescuers rush to help with their signal red cars: After heavy rain or floods, the cellars of some houses are under water and have to be pumped out. The fire brigade has special equipment for this, which transports the rainwater outside in no time at all.

Show effort!

In addition to good health, an important prerequisite for this job is unrestricted readiness for action. Firefighters must be available day and night in order to be quickly on the scene in the event of a fire or other disaster and to help the residents. It is important that the teams are well coordinated and that everyone can rely on the other. This is the only way to ensure that the mission is carried out quickly and without errors.

Knowledge can save lives

Without the desire to learn, nothing works: All members of a fire brigade have to attend training services and further training courses at regular intervals, where they update their knowledge of fire fighting and disaster control. This is so important because there are constant new technical developments in this area as well. And only those who are familiar with it can act correctly during an assignment.

Never idle

Even when there is no action taking place, the firefighters are not idle: They maintain the fire trucks, the buildings, their protective equipment and the devices so that they are always ready for action. After all, every second can count for the next alarm.

Anyone who would like to get involved in the fire service does not necessarily have to become a professional firefighter. Almost all smaller communities have a volunteer fire brigade that you can join. Otherwise, youth fire brigades are a good entry point.

Training as a firefighter:

There are various ways to work for the fire service. The basic training is that of civil servant in the middle fire service. For this, the future firefighters have to complete a preparatory service at a fire brigade school, which lasts between nine months and two years.

Afterwards there is still the possibility of further training to become an operations manager or fire brigade equipment attendant. Civil servants in the higher and higher technical service undergo a two-year training course in the federal states or the municipalities in which they work. This time is divided into practical and theoretical sections.

If you want to know whether there is a volunteer fire brigade or a youth fire brigade in your hometown, you can look at www.feuerwehrlinks-deutschland.de. Here you will find - sorted by federal state - links to many homepages of individual fire departments!