The fire brigade in Saxony-Anhalt looks anxiously at an ever-increasing number of operations. How do the emergency services see themselves set up?
Halle (dpa/sa) - Early in the year, the fire brigades in Saxony-Anhalt increasingly had to move out to forest and wildfires - it's not even summer yet. The emergency services are therefore looking forward to the coming drier months with concern. At which points is there still a problem at the deployment sites?
MATERIAL: The condition of the equipment varies greatly from region to region. "It ranges from well equipped to inadequate," said the head of the state fire brigade association, Kai-Uwe Lohse. This often depends on municipal finances. On average, economically stronger municipalities would have significantly more room for maneuver. It tends to "not necessarily get better geographically with sloping terrain," said Lohse. In the direction of the rural north of the country there are therefore significantly greater material problems with the fire brigades. Compared to other federal states, the fire department in Saxony-Anhalt is average, said Lohse. "Not particularly good, but not particularly bad either."
STAFF: According to Lohse, the decline in the number of emergency services has slowed down in recent years. The municipalities had recognized the problem and "mobilized" it more strongly. If the municipalities do not upgrade their fire departments, fires could not be extinguished or would have to be taken over by neighboring fire departments. There are around 1500 volunteer fire brigades and 3 professional fire brigades in Saxony-Anhalt. Almost 32,000 men and women are volunteers and in their free time go out to work on fires and help in the event of accidents or emergencies.
YOUTH: The fire departments in the country are "actually very well equipped" for young people, said Lohse. According to the Ministry of the Interior, the children's and youth fire brigades are registering steady growth, "since 2016 by a total of almost 16 percent". In 2020 there were around 16,000 members in the state’s children’s and youth fire brigades. According to Lohse, "the Achilles' heel" is the sometimes strong departure of members between the ages of 16 and 18. Out of ten volunteers in this age group, only one often stays with the volunteer fire brigade.
OPERATIONS: The numbers are clearly going up, said Lohse. "The tasks are diverse and are being spread over fewer and fewer shoulders." There are small volunteer fire brigades with up to 450 operations a year. That's a heavy burden. In view of a hot summer with numerous fires, he doesn't think things will get any better.