Fire department in Germany

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Fire Department
Fire department logo 02.JPG
Emergency number : 112
(without youth):
Volunteer rate: 94.0%
Quota for women: 9.8%
Youth fire brigade : 257.239
Total number: 23,710
Voluntary weirs 22,853
Plant fire brigades 752
Company fire departments 0
Professional fire departments 105
Compulsory fire brigades 4th
Total number: 3,730,069
Distribution according to organizational form
Professional fire brigade 63% (including rescue service)
Volunteer firefighter 33%
Plant fire brigade 4%
Distribution according to type of use
Fire operations 179,083
Technical operations 577.770
Other uses 2,973,216 (including ambulance service)
State of the data 2016
The Ilmenau fire station

The fire brigade can be reached throughout Germany on the emergency number 112 . The central location for equipment and vehicles is the fire station or fire station .

The area of ​​responsibility of the fire brigades in Germany is regulated in the state legislation by the respective fire brigade, fire protection and assistance laws. In addition, as a public institution , the fire brigade can also provide administrative assistance to other authorities .

The activities and tasks of an individual fire brigade member with others in the network are specified in the fire brigade service regulations (FwDV). Fire brigades exist in different organizational forms. In addition to the communal forms of volunteer fire brigade (mandatory throughout Germany in every municipality), professional fire brigade (available in 109 cities in addition to the local volunteer fire brigade, see list of German cities with a professional fire brigade ) and the rare compulsory fire brigade, works or company fire brigades are maintained in companies .


The tasks of the fire brigade include defensive fire protection and preventive fire protection as well as providing assistance in the event of accidents and emergencies.

The range of operations is shifting more and more towards providing assistance, especially among the volunteer fire brigades. Already now the assistance accounts for 2/3 of all missions.

In the area of ​​professional fire brigades, securing the rescue service is still partly assumed as a task.

The fire brigades in many cities and communities offer fire protection training for different age groups . The fire protection education is adapted to the age, origin and level of education. Mainly the handling of the extinguishing agents such as B. fire extinguishers, the sending of an emergency call with the 5-W questions or just the correct behavior in fires trained. The training can also be carried out with children in kindergarten.


German Fire Brigade Association

In Germany, the fire brigade is the legislative competence of the federal states. While technical equipment and training are almost uniform due to national fire service regulations and standards, there are numerous differences in terms of organization and financing. Therefore it is almost impossible to speak of the "fire brigade in Germany". Rather, it is necessary to look at the fire brigade in the individual federal states.

The fire brigades are organized through their city, district and, if necessary, district fire brigade associations in the state fire brigade associations of the 16 federal states. The national umbrella organization is the German Fire Brigade Association , to which the Federal Professional Fire Brigade and the Federal Plant Fire Brigade Group are affiliated. The umbrella organization for the youth fire brigades is the German Youth Fire Brigade.

Volunteer firefighter

One for all - All for one
Honor god - to defend one's neighbor


Membership in the volunteer fire brigade is basically open to everyone, a regulation on general requirements is not prescribed by law. However, there are certain prerequisites for the individual departments in the volunteer fire brigade that must be met in order to be accepted. The municipality, as the fire service provider, decides on membership in the volunteer fire service.

A volunteer fire brigade does not only have to consist of volunteers. In addition to the voluntary workers (volunteer workers), there are also full-time workers in some of the brigades. The volunteer fire brigade does not become a professional fire brigade due to the full-time staff . The full-time workers are employees or municipal officials of the municipality or city, depending on the state law. They usually take on the function of equipment maintenance and higher management posts in the fire brigade, but primarily they are supposed to ensure daily availability in the communities.


The volunteer fire brigade is divided into different departments and is managed by a maintenance officer. But these are all subordinate to the head of the fire department. For this purpose, the head of the fire brigade leads the operations department and usually also the age and honor department himself.

Children's fire brigade

The children's fire brigade as an independent department is still relatively new in legislation. This approach already existed in some federal states, only under different names, e.g. B. young fire protection workers. The aim of the children's fire brigade is to get children excited about the fire brigade at an early age and to carry out fire protection education in a playful way, whereby the playful way is in the foreground and not the fire service. A minimum age is not specified by law. There is only one recommendation to start the children's fire brigade at the age of six.

Youth fire brigade

The youth fire brigade is intended for children and young people from 10 to 18 years of age, but this can vary from state to state. The focus here is also on fire protection education. However, the first basics for service in the operations department are also taught. These fundamentals are measured against each other in competitions at the municipal, district, state and federal level for security of action and speed.

The young people can also put down the youth flame in the youth fire brigade . It is awarded in three stages and reflects the level of education of the young people. The highest award in the youth fire brigade is performance .

Operations department

To be accepted into the volunteer fire brigade, you must be physically and mentally fit. Depending on the legal situation and local conditions (equipment), a medical certificate , an occupational medical check-up according to G26.3 (for respiratory protection equipment wearers ) and / or a certificate of good conduct may be required.

In some countries, active service can begin at the age of 16 ( generally outside the danger area ), in other countries only from the age of 18 - although use as a respirator is generally only permitted from the age of 18. Since the service is very physically demanding, there is also a certain maximum age for volunteer service. It usually ends when you reach the age of 60 or 65.

Age and honor department

After retiring from active service, members of the deployment department usually switch to an “age” or “honorary department” . In addition to the comrades who change from the operations department, there are also members of the volunteer fire brigade, such as B. are physically unsuitable for service in the operations department due to a disability or are no longer available as an emergency worker due to moving from the location or have been appointed honorary members due to special merits.


Since the fire brigades should work effectively and professionally on the one hand, and self-protection must not be neglected on the other hand , good training is necessary. Most of the training takes place in our own fire department. The training for every fire brigade member begins with the Truppmann Part I course (the "basic course") and is based on the requirements of the fire brigade service regulation 2 . The training and further education are carried out at the community or district level as well as at the state fire brigade schools . In order to keep the level of training at a high level, continuous further training or repetition of learned knowledge and skills is necessary. The exercise situations should be as realistic as possible. Unfortunately, this is often difficult to achieve, as it is not always so easy to find exercise objects that you can simply set on fire or vehicles that you can simply cut up. Most of the exercises are just dry training that firefighters have to pass into the flesh in order to make the right decision in an emergency. So-called hot exercises can only be carried out in a few cases ; however, these are very important to get firefighters used to handling fire.
In addition to this practical training and further education, a correspondingly comprehensive theoretical knowledge is also part of the necessary fundamentals of fire service.

Fire brigade during a "hot" exercise in the fire container
X. International Fire Brigade Sports Competition of the CTIF 1993 in Berlin, discipline hook ladder climbing - volunteer fire brigades

The type of operations has become much more complicated due to the increased mechanization of the entire society. More and more specialists are needed. For this reason, focal points are emerging in some fire brigades, such as defense against hazardous substances or radiation protection . These fire brigade units can provide support with their specific specialist knowledge.

Fire fighting

Some firefighters of the volunteer fire brigade meet in addition to the exercise and use z. B. also to play football and also take part in tournaments.

Operations department

Fire service competitions are sometimes held . A distinction must be made between performance badges that are based on the service regulations for processing an extinguishing operation or technical assistance and more sporty- oriented competitions. They are carried out up to the "level" World Championship .

Since 2010 members of a fire brigade can acquire the German Fire Brigade Fitness Badge (DFFA). The DFFA is accepted by authorized persons authorized by the German Fire Brigade Sports Federation .

Youth fire brigade

At the youth fire brigade, the area of ​​competitions is divided into several sections. There is the federal competition, which is to be equated with the German championship at federal level , in which the teams qualify at district and state level (possibly also district level). The qualification for the international competition of the federal decision also counts as the German championship. These federal decisions are one of the event highlights of the German Youth Fire Brigade, alternating every year, as several dozen teams from all over Germany compete against each other.

In addition to the competitions, there are also certificates of achievement in which DJF members can demonstrate their learning successes. These are the performance brackets and the youth flame level I to III.

Structure of the volunteer fire brigade

As mentioned above, fire protection and thus the organization of the fire brigade are subject to the legislation of the federal states in Germany. Therefore, the organization of the volunteer fire brigade differs considerably in the individual federal states. In principle, however, the structure of the volunteer fire brigade is based on the respective structure of the local authorities (cities, municipalities, municipalities, etc.). Each municipality has a volunteer fire brigade, which is usually represented at several locations. The personnel and material equipment z. B. with fire engines depends on the local area of ​​responsibility of the respective fire service location from the number of residents, industrial and commercial operations and traffic infrastructure (e.g. country roads or highways ). In some federal states, a so-called fire protection requirement plan must be drawn up from this , from which the minimum strength of the fire brigade results , taking into account the assistance period . In other federal states, minimum strength regulations have been introduced that regulate the equipment of the fire brigade nationwide. The equipment of the volunteer fire brigades ranges from locations with a fire engine for a fire fighting group to locations that are well equipped in terms of personnel and material well beyond the strength of a fire engine.

Professional fire brigade

In Germany it is regulated in the fire protection laws of the individual federal states when a professional fire brigade must be set up. The obligation of a municipality to maintain a professional fire brigade is based either on the number of inhabitants or the status of a city (e.g. district-free city in North Rhine-Westphalia). [1] In some federal states a limit of 100,000 inhabitants is set (e.g. in Hesse, Thuringia and Baden-Württemberg). [2] On the one hand, however, some cities also maintain a professional fire brigade, although they are not legally obliged to do so (e.g. Gießen, Lünen, Eisenach, Minden, Cuxhaven or Iserlohn).

Plant fire brigade

A plant fire brigade in Germany is a fire brigade that is not public within the meaning of the law. Plant fire brigades are state-ordered or state-recognized fire brigades. The members of the plant fire brigade are full-time workers and / or part-time workers who primarily pursue another task in the company to be protected and are alerted and released from their work in the event of an incident. Accordingly, a plant fire brigade can be organized like a professional fire brigade, if available supplemented and supported by part-time workers, or in the same way as a volunteer fire brigade. The main task of the plant fire brigades is mainly to ensure fire protection in large industrial companies. In terms of structure, training and equipment, they must meet the requirements of both the companies to be protected and the public fire brigade.

Plant fire brigades specialize in the operations to be expected in your company. For example, airport fire brigades are specially designed for fighting fires on aircraft. In accordance with the requirements of the supervisory authorities, the plant fire brigades may also be deployed outside the plant premises on request.

Public fire brigades (professional, compulsory and voluntary fire brigades) together with the plant fire brigades form the community's fire brigades. The supervisory authorities regularly check, e.g. B. in NRW the district governments, the performance level of the plant fire brigades in the administrative district. The German Plant Fire Brigade Association (WFVD) is an amalgamation of all German plant fire departments.

The plant fire brigades of the chemical industry, together with Austrian company fire brigades, maintain the TUIS transport accident information and assistance system .

The setting up or setting up of a works fire brigade can be a legal requirement due to the particular risk situation in a company or a voluntary establishment of a company that hopes for a shorter intervention time of the emergency services in contrast to the public fire brigade and thus possibly through the fast Acting great cost savings through minimized machine downtime in the event of damage.

Company fire brigade

In contrast to the plant fire departments, company fire departments are not prescribed or state-recognized fire departments, but are established on a voluntary basis by the company.

Compulsory fire brigade

Since every municipality is obliged to provide fire protection, it can happen that citizens are ordered to the fire department if there are not enough volunteers. This fire brigade is called the compulsory fire brigade .

Until 1995 it was also possible in some municipalities to collect a fire service fee for all male residents who were not members of the fire service.

Bundeswehr fire brigade

The Bundeswehr maintains its own fire protection center of the Bundeswehr (fire department) with 62 fire stations nationwide in the organizational area of ​​infrastructure, environmental protection and services. The fire stations ensure defensive fire protection at the military training areas, airfields, in the depots, underground facilities, marine land facilities, etc.


Establishment of fire departments

Memorial plaque for the foundation of the Thuringian Fire Brigade Association in Jena in 1868, Hotel Schwarzer Bär.

The first professional fire brigade in Germany was opened in 1851 at Große Hamburger Straße 13/14, Berlin- Mitte. Initially, teams of horses pulled carriages, which were converted to automobile operation around the turn of the century.

Due to the beginning disenchantment with politics in the middle of the 19th century during the Biedermeier era and the gymnastics clubs that were being formed, the first volunteer fire brigades also emerged around the 1850s. These were mostly called volunteer rescue groups or - as in Karlsruhe in 1846, the Pompier Corps . One of the oldest fire brigades in what is now the Federal Republic of Germany is the fire brigade founded in 1811 in the district town of Saarlouis in what is now Saarland . The establishment of the Meißen volunteer fire brigade in Meissen on July 17, 1841 was expressly known as the "volunteer fire brigade".

The equipment of these troops was mostly paid for themselves and consisted of little more than a uniform, hats and a couple of boots. It was only at this point in time that the use of technical equipment (such as fire engines by the engineer Carl Metz ) and practiced methods of fire fighting and logistics became established. Here was Christian stallion from Durlach pioneer.

Due to the developing industrialization in Europe at the end of the 18th century, the risk of major fires in industrial plants increased considerably. The risk of fire also increased due to the worsening of the social question , as the limited space in the workers' apartments increased the risk of fire from ovens and fireplaces considerably.

At the beginning of the 1870s, voluntary factory fire brigades were formed in the factories and companies, which were mostly supported and financed by the factory owners.

Up until the end of the 1920s, there was a life in the fire service as diverse as there is today.

Fire brigade in the time of National Socialism

After the National Socialists came to power , the Prussian government promulgated the Fire Extinguishing Act on December 28, 1933 (FLG - Fire Extinguishing Act). It came into force on January 1, 1934. Here the name fire police has prevailed (although this name officially did not exist). In many places this law was welcomed as an essential step towards standardizing fire extinguishing in Prussia. As a result of the Police Administration Act passed in 1931 to reorganize fire extinguishing, it was even seen as necessary to close existing loopholes in fire extinguishing law. The fire brigades have already been instrumentalized by the Fire Extinguishing Act to prepare for war.

The fire engines built from 1940 onwards were painted in police fir green ( RAL 6009). This Magirus - Kraftfahrleiter 26 (meter) with diesel engine (125 HP) was delivered to the fire police in Neumünster in 1941 .

The Reich Law on Fire Extinguishing of November 23, 1938 formed the keystone for the integration of the German fire extinguishing system into the police, implemented by the National Socialists since 1933 . Professional fire brigades were now referred to as fire protection police in the German Reich . Only fourteen days after the pogroms against the Jewish population , during which many synagogues were laid to rubble and ashes along with other atrocities committed by the National Socialists, it was issued by the Reich government. The Reich Fire Extinguishing Act was justified in the preamble with the growing importance of fire extinguishing for air protection .

The preamble emphasizes the principle of rule of rule of National Socialism, the so-called Führer principle . In a police force led by the Reich, which now also included the fire brigades, the Führer principle was given special importance. The decisions were made exclusively by the superiors (leaders) without the involvement of the subordinates.

Their competencies were not legally defined and they were not subject to any control. The police were of particular importance for the dictatorship. National Socialist Germany as a fascist dictatorship also resorted to the instruments of rule of the police apparatus. All areas of public services were absorbed into the police state , in the course of which organized fire protection was also designated as a police task.

The standardization was also standardized in 1938 with this law and the Storz coupling used today for hoses and fittings was introduced across the country. Until then, the fire brigades in the individual countries used different standards, which made cooperation difficult.

Fire department in the post-war period

After the end of the war, the few remaining firefighters tried to rebuild the fire protection with the permission of the occupying forces. Devices that had been abducted turned up again, and the occupying forces later gave devices from their stocks to the fire departments. Every beginning was difficult, the municipalities and cities had no money and there was no equipment to be found on the market. When the currency reform came into force, everything was suddenly for sale, the municipalities also had money again, the old debts were paid off before the currency depreciation.

Fire department in the GDR

On January 18, 1956, the GDR announced its first fire protection law . The fire brigade was divided into the following areas:

  • Central fire protection organs: These included the main fire department in the main administration of the German People's Police ; the fire brigade department in the district authorities of the German People's Police with the fire protection inspections directly subordinate to them and the fire brigade departments in the people's police district offices with their subordinate fire protection inspections and fire brigade commands.
July 21, 1985: The GDR national fire brigade team of the professional fire brigades (light uniforms) and the only sports competition team of the German Fire Brigade Association, the FF Beselich-Obertiefenbach (dark uniforms)
  • Local fire protection bodies: These included in the cities and municipalities as well as institutions: The voluntary fire brigades, the compulsory fire brigades and those responsible for fire protection as well as other persons charged with fire protection.
  • Company fire protection bodies: These included the professional fire brigades, voluntary fire brigades and compulsory fire brigades set up in industrial and agricultural companies, administrative bodies and other facilities, as well as those responsible for fire protection and the persons commissioned by fire protection.

On December 19, 1974, the law on fire protection in the GDR (Fire Protection Act) was promulgated. A new definition and a description of the tasks of the Fire Protection Act are then made in it.

The fire brigades of the GDR took part in the international fire brigade competitions of the fire brigade world association CTIF (Fire Brigade Olympiad ) held every four years with a selection team from professional fire brigades and with great success. At the 8th International Fire Brigade Competitions of the CTIF, which took place from July 15 to 21, 1985 in Vöcklabruck / Austria , a German-German encounter between the GDR team and the sports competition group of the volunteer fire brigade from Beselich in Hesse took place four years before the fall of the Wall -Obertiefenbach , who met in front of the stadium on the way to the graduation ceremony and posed for a unique photo of German-German firefighters in their uniforms.

Number of fire departments and members

Number of fire brigades and active members in Germany (as of 2016):

No. Organization type Fire brigades Fire brigade
of which
1 Voluntary fire brigade (excluding youth / children) 22,853 995.341 91,999
2 Youth fire brigade 18,451 257.239 75,000
3 Professional fire brigade ( list , as of 2020) 109 31,700 559
4th Plant fire brigade 752 32,303 nb
5 Compulsory fire brigade (as of 2017) 4th nb nb
total 42,060 > 1,316,583 > 167,558

In addition, several million supporting (passive) members belong to the local fire brigade associations.

Acceptance in the population

Due to the high penetration of all sections of the population with fire brigade members, these are always in top positions compared to other professional groups in the trust that the population places in them. Every year, Reader's Digest carries out one of the largest studies in Europe: the Readers Digest European Trusted Brands . In March 2019, 7,037 readers in Germany voted firefighters as the profession with the highest trust value of 93 percent.

Before that, from the 1970s to the early 1990s, the German Fire Brigade Association and its subordinate associations called for the nationwide fire protection week to be held annually under a different motto in order to improve acceptance of the fire brigade among the population.

German successes at world championships

X. International fire fighting competition in Berlin in 1993, winner in the fire fighting discipline - FF Beselich-Obertiefenbach

The following German teams became world champions at the world championships of the World Fire Brigade Association CTIF , which take place every four years :

year venue Fire department competition team state
1973 Czech RepublicCzech Republic Brno Fire fighting sport competitions - fire fighting attack BF DDR
1981 GermanyGermany Boeblingen Fire fighting sport competitions - fire fighting attack BF DDR
1985 AustriaAustria Vöcklabruck Fire fighting sport competitions - fire fighting attack BF DDR
1985 AustriaAustria Vöcklabruck Traditional fire fighting competitions without age points FF Nidderau-Eichen HesseHesse Hesse
1985 AustriaAustria Vöcklabruck Traditional fire brigade competitions with age points FF Friedrichsthal SaarlandSaarland Saarland
1993 GermanyGermany Berlin Fire fighting sport competitions - fire fighting attack FF Beselich-Obertiefenbach HesseHesse Hesse
1993 GermanyGermany Berlin Fire Brigade Sports Competitions - 4 × 100-meter fire brigade relay FF Berlin BerlinBerlin Berlin
1993 GermanyGermany Berlin Traditional fire fighting competitions without age points FF Bundenthal Rhineland-PalatinateRhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate
1993 GermanyGermany Berlin Traditional fire brigade competitions with age points FF Asendorf II Lower SaxonyLower Saxony Lower Saxony
1997 DenmarkDenmark Herning Traditional fire brigade competitions with age points (women) FF Asendorf 2nd Lower SaxonyLower Saxony Lower Saxony
2001 FinlandFinland Kuopio Fire Brigade Sports Competitions - 4 × 100-meter fire brigade (women) FF Muldentalkreis SaxonySaxony Saxony
2013 FranceFrance Mulhouse Fire fighting sport competitions - fire fighting attack FF Team Lausitz BrandenburgBrandenburg Brandenburg
2017 AustriaAustria Villach Fire fighting sport competitions - fire fighting attack FF Märkisch-Oderland BrandenburgBrandenburg Brandenburg

These world championships have been held since 1961. In the beginning there were only the traditional fire brigade competitions.

The International Fire Brigade Sports Competitions have been held since 1973. Initially, only professional fire brigades (BF) were allowed to start in the sports competitions. From 1985 volunteer fire brigades (FF) were also approved. In 2001, women's groups joined this male domain.

See also

Portal: Fire Brigade  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the subject of fire brigade
Wikibooks: Wikibook on the fire service regulations  - learning and teaching materials

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k l m Statistics of the German Fire Brigade Association , as of 2016
  2. Fire Brigade Act Baden-Württemberg , §10, on
  3. Law on fire protection and the assistance of the fire brigades (Schleswig-Holstein) , § 9, accessed from
  4. Law on Fire Brigades in the State of Berlin , Section 6
  5. Fire Service Regulations 7 Respiratory Protection (as of 2002 with changes in 2005), Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, 2005
  6. Fire Brigade Service Regulations 2 Training for Voluntary Fire Brigades, 2012
  7. German youth fire brigade in the German Fire Brigade Association - competitions on
  8. ^ Chronicle of the Meißen volunteer fire brigade accessed on May 25, 2017
  9. a b Reich Law on Fire Extinguishing , Reich Law Gazette, year 1938, Part I, page 1662 ff., Accessed from the Austrian National Library
  10. ^ Franz-Josef Sehr : The friendship with the fire brigade began before - Beselich and the GDR national team at CTIF . In: Florian Hessen 7/2015 . Henrich Druck + Medien, Wiesbaden 2015, p. 22-23 . ISSN 0936-5370 .  
  11. Firefighters in the most diverse regions of the world enjoy the highest levels of trust among people. In: GfK Compact, March 2016, accessed on May 21, 2020 .
  12. Firefighters enjoy the utmost confidence. Reader's Digest Germany, Verlag Das Beste GmbH, Stuttgart, May 2019, accessed on March 6, 2020 .
  13. ^ Franz-Josef Sehr : Fire protection week - seize opportunities . In: Florian Hessen 7–8 / 1989 . Munkelt Verlag, Wiesbaden 1989, p. 1-3 . ISSN 0936-5370 .  
  14. ^ Wilhelm Bohlmann: Fire Brigade Competitions - International and National Championships . W. Bohlmann, Rostock 2018.