Fire service training

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The fire brigade training is the specific knowledge base of every fire brigade member on active duty.

The increasing mechanization of fire-fighting tasks, an ever-increasing volume of traffic on land, water and in the air, the accumulation of potential hazards in the production facilities and large warehouses as well as an increasing number of natural disasters require suitable devices and modern vehicles for rapid and targeted response management. At the same time, higher demands are placed on the teams and managers of the fire brigade , since the operational work in fires becomes more dangerous and the number and variety of technical and dangerous goods operations increases.

Training in Germany

The training content is stipulated nationwide in fire service regulation 2 (FwDV 2) and is the same for volunteer fire departments , compulsory fire departments , plant fire departments and professional fire departments . For the latter, however, further country-specific requirements may exist. In general, the requirements of FwDV 2 are only to be viewed as minimum requirements. Since 2009 there has been a dual training occupation for plant fire departments , the plant fire fighter .

While the troop training is mostly carried out in the fire brigade itself (or at the district level), further training and special training are carried out in state fire brigade schools , since the infrastructure is easier and cheaper to build here. Course participants can also work and practice with devices that are not available in their own fire department.

The youth fire brigade introduces children and young people to the subject areas.


The training at the fire brigades in Germany is divided into three parts (for a schematic representation see picture "Overview of the training at fire brigades in Germany):

Overview of training at fire departments in Germany
  1. The three-part troop training consists of a basic training course (troop training, part 1), as well as the troop training, part 2, which builds on it, both of which are to be completed by every firefighter (SB), as well as the final troop leader training .
  2. The technical training includes additional general training content such as B. the training as radio operator , breathing apparatus wearer and machinist also special training such as behavior in dangerous goods operations . In some federal states, the radio operator and / or breathing apparatus wearer courses are integrated into the training of the squad.
  3. The management training trains managers, such as group leaders and train drivers , or trains them for special assignments (e.g. dangerous goods operations ). Training to become a trainer is also part of the leadership courses .

There are minimum requirements for each course, a group leader course can only be attended as a squad leader, a platoon leader course only if you are already a group leader.

Special requirements apply to trainers in the fire service.

Training locations and implementation

The training of the fire brigade can take place in different forms. Regular theoretical and practical exercises take place at the level of the volunteer fire brigade, which are intended to maintain and expand the knowledge of the fire brigade member after the troop training. Every fire service member has to undergo training for at least 40 hours per year; this number increases depending on the level of training.

The troop training itself is usually on land and city district level or for the territory of one independent city performed. The courses for breathing apparatus wearers, radio operators and machinists can also be located here. In cities with a professional fire brigade, the first management training (group leader) can also take place at district level. The state fire brigade schools basically offer all courses, but focus on the part of technical training that is not or only little carried out at district level, as well as on management training.

The training takes place in the form of on-site training , courses and seminars . These are seldom purely face-to-face lessons , as the subject largely requires practical training.

Training in Austria

Since these are mostly volunteer fire brigades , the training in these fire brigades is described here. Training is also done in the same way at the company fire brigades. It only takes place at the six professional fire departments in Austria as part of normal service. Since training, like the entire fire service, is a matter of the state, it can vary depending on the state. It was not until the basic training in 2000 that standardized basic training was created nationwide by the Austrian Federal Fire Brigade Association .

Most of the basic training takes place in the respective fire brigade. This specifies not only a certain number of hours for the individual subject areas, but also a certain level of knowledge at the end of the training. However, several fire brigades or even the entire district can join forces to conduct the training together.

The fire brigade member can attend a squad leader training course at the earliest one year after the end of the basic training . The former members of a youth fire brigade have a shorter waiting time because they have already completed a large part of the training in the context of youth work. This training can be carried out at the district level. The same applies to a number of other courses such as respiratory protection or machinist training. The first aid -Education, which is also a prerequisite for the squad leader training may, from other organizations such as the Red Cross or the Federation of Workers' Samaritan be performed. For more advanced courses you can visit the state fire brigade schools. Various courses are linked to functions that you perform in the fire department or to special skills that you can develop outside of the fire department.

Independently of these training steps, exercises are carried out in the individual fire departments or together with several fire departments. The organization of these exercises is the responsibility of the individual fire brigade commanders or a responsible training officer within the fire brigade. How strictly the training visit by the individual fire brigade members is handled is also a matter for the command. A certain minimum number of exercises is only necessary in individual areas such as respiratory protection or body protection.

Exercises are also carried out continuously in higher-level units, such as the disaster relief service or special units (e.g. explosive or radiation protection groups), which take place at group, district or state level depending on the management level. In addition, there are additional exercises with other aid units, which are either carried out under the direction of one of the aid units, usually the fire department, or under the direction of the district captain. Such exercises are often carried out as staff exercises , in which case a small team is required and only leading an operation under a wide variety of scenarios is practiced.

Training in Switzerland

Professional fire brigade

The training is an 18-month course in which theory and assignments in shift work alternate. There can also be external courses. Anyone who has passed the federal examination is then a professional firefighter with a federal certificate .

Militia fire brigade

The fire services are subordinate to the cantons and municipalities. In Switzerland so are 26 firefighters and law at the municipal or inter-municipal fire departments decrees for the individual fire departments. Teams and cadres acquire their skills in regional or cantonal training courses.

A distinction is made between introductory courses for newcomers, management courses and specialist courses.

The introductory course for newly assigned firefighters lasts around five days. The further training to become a group leader (corporal) is usually a two-part course lasting a little more than a week. Likewise the officers course.

One-day and multi-day specialist courses are held, for example for machinists, head of traffic, wearers of breathing apparatus and other specializations.

The knowledge learned in the courses is continuously applied and deepened during the exercises (fire brigade and specialist exercises). There are also refresher courses that must be attended at fixed intervals.

Individual evidence

  1. a b [1] Training of volunteer fire brigades, Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, 2012
  2. The functional designations apply to both female and male fire service members. Fire brigade regulation 3 units in fire fighting and rescue operations, Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, 2008
  3. ^ Rescue Basel-Stadt: Professional fire brigade course
  4. ^ Rescue Basel-Stadt: Courses
  5. Swiss Fire Brigade Association: Professional firefighter with a federal certificate