Group (fire brigade)

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Within the fire brigade , the basic tactical unit is called a group . It consists of a team and resources. The team is basically composed of the group leader ( in Germany ) or the group commander ( in Austria ) as well as eight other subordinate trained fire fighters. Vehicles, devices and materials that the emergency services need to fulfill the order are considered resources.

All members of the group are assigned their own functions. A distinction is made between the machinist, the detector and three troops (usually called attack, water and hose troops). A squad usually consists of two people, the squad leader and the squad man, who generally act together.

In operations with two or more groups, they are placed under the leadership of a platoon leader or platoon commander (in Austria) who can be supported in his leadership position by a platoon troop .

Group in fire fighting and rescue operations

Organization of the operational area, especially in the case of technical assistance (traffic accident), as defined by German fire brigades

The team is assigned certain basic tasks both in fire fighting operations and in technical assistance operations (or “technical operations” in Austrian usage). These can vary in the individual countries, but are basically the same. That is why they are described here in accordance with the fire brigade service regulation (FwDV) 3 “Units in fire fighting and rescue operations” that is valid in Germany . According to FwDV 3, in the classic sense, fire fighting is defined as any activity in which jet pipes have to be carried out. There are two established forms of deployment orders .

Squad leader

The squad leader leads his tactical unit. It is not tied to a specific place. He is responsible for the safety of the team. He determines the position of the vehicle, the order of the room and, if necessary, the location of the portable pump and the units.


The machinist (Ma) is the driver and operates the fire extinguishing centrifugal pump as well as the devices built into the fire engine (e.g. cable winch ) or units carried along such as power generators . He immediately secures the scene with hazard warning lights, driving lights and blue flashing lights . He supports the removal of the devices, is responsible for the correct loading of the devices and reports deficiencies in the resources to the unit operator. If necessary, it can also be used for other purposes. Although one says "he drives the vehicle", he only controls the vehicle and has no authority over the unit.


The detector (Me) takes on the tasks that have been ordered; For example, when determining the position, when putting the ladder into position, when looking after injured people or when transferring information and takes on special tasks (e.g. second machinist).

Attack force

The attack troop (A-Trupp, ATr or AT abbreviated) saves; especially from areas that can only be entered with breathing apparatus . He carries out the first aid (at least first aid) until the handover to the rescue service and provides technical assistance. He usually makes the first nozzle to be used. The attack force sets the distributor . If no hose troop is available to provide support, he will lay his hose line himself or bring his resources to the front himself. The attack troop consists of an attack troop leader (ATF) and basically an attack troop man (ATM).

Water troop

The Wassertrupp (W-Trupp, WTr or WT for short) saves; brings portable ladders into position on command, provides the water supply from the fire engine to the distributor and between the fire engine and the water extraction point. He connects the distributor to the B hose line . Afterwards, he becomes a security team on respiratory protection or takes on other tasks. During the rescue operation , he secures the emergency site from traffic, leaking liquids, collapse or fall, fire, etc. on command and takes the necessary equipment. He is then available for further tasks. The water troop consists of a water troop leader (WTF) and basically a water troop man (WTM).

Hose troop

The hose troop (S troop, STr or ST for short) saves. The hose troop consists of a hose troop leader (STF) and basically a hose troop man (STM). The squad provides the water supply between the jet pipe and the distributor for the preceding squads. On command, he brings portable ladders into position and carries out other activities, for example he operates the distributor, brings additional devices to use (jumping cushion, lighting device, ventilation device, medical equipment, etc.). If more than two suction hoses are required for a water supply from open water, the hose troop supports the water troop. In the rescue operation, he prepares the ordered devices for the attack force. If necessary, he supports the attack force and operates the associated units. If the attack troop is bound by the first aid to injured and / or in distress, the hose troop uses the ordered devices. On command, he takes on additional security measures or other tasks.

Schematic representation of the distribution of tasks in the German fire brigade regulation 3 for water withdrawal from a hydrant; exclusive rescue of person
Schematic representation of the distribution of tasks in German fire service regulation 3 for open waters with variants; including rescue of person


Approach and seating order of the group according to FwDV 3 (Me = reporter, Ma = machinist, A = attack troop, W = water troop, S = hose troop, square with black corner and two points = group leader, square = troop man, square with black corner = troop leader )

In Germany the group leader stands in front of the leader of the attacking troop, since the leader of the group gives the leader of the attacking troop the first order . Furthermore, the machinist always stands to the left of the unit leader, regardless of whether the vehicle is approached in front of or behind.

In Austria the group commander usually stands opposite the machinist. If he is integrated in the group, he is to the right of the machinist. That's why the group is a little further away from the vehicle than in Germany.

Tank group

In Austria, there is no hose troop in the tank fire fighting group , as the crew of a tank fire engine has two fewer people than in the fire engines. The feeder line to a tank fire engine is the job of another fire fighting group. In Germany it corresponds to a season .

Designations in Austria

In Austria, the designation distinguishes between a deletion group or a group in technical use . The tactical signs are usually worn over the operational uniform during fire service competitions. The tactical signs are not used in action.

Tactical signs

Fire fighting group
Technical task force
VWKZ-GrKdt.gif Group commander Group commander Function symbol GF.jpg Gruppenführer (unit leader)
VWKZ-Melder.gif Detector Detector Function symbol ME.jpg Detector
VWKZ-Masch.gif machinist machinist Function symbol MA.jpg machinist
Attack troop leader fire brigade.svg Attack troop leader Rescue Squad Leader Function symbol ATF.jpg Attack troop leader
VWKZ-AngrM.gif Attack troop man Rescue squad man Function symbol ATM.jpg Attack troop man
VWKZ-WasserF.gif Water troop leader Security troop leader Function symbol WTF.jpg Water troop leader
VWKZ-WasserM.gif Water troop man Security troop man Function symbol WTM.jpg Water troop man
VWKZ-hoseF.gif Hose troop leader Equipment troop leader Function symbol STF.jpg Hose troop leader
VWKZ hose M.gif Hose troop man Equipment troop man Function symbol STM.jpg Hose troop man


  • Lothar Schott, Manfred Ritter: Fire Brigade Basic Course FwDV 2 . 20th edition. Wenzel-Verlag, Marburg 2018, ISBN 978-3-88293-220-1 .

Web links

Commons : Tactical signs  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. 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
  2. Fire Brigade Service Regulations 3 (FwDV 3) - Units in fire fighting and rescue operations, Committee on Fire Brigade Matters, Disaster Management and Civil Defense (AFKzV), 2008
  3. Handbook for basic training , Austrian Federal Fire Brigade Association, accessed on November 1, 2009