Eckehard Kiesewetter Ebern- Time and again, municipalities find themselves in a dichotomy between voluntary services (recreational facilities, library and investments in club life) and mandatory tasks such as (road maintenance, sewage disposal, utilities, schools and social welfare). Firefighting is one of the obligatory tasks – sometimes a Herculean task, as the example of the city of Ebern shows. With 22 districts and an area of 95 square kilometers, this task can only be accomplished by hundreds of volunteers working on a voluntary basis.
In addition to the Valeo plant fire department, there are 13 volunteer fire departments and two firefighting groups in Ebern alone, in which around 380 men and around 40 women are involved, according to information from the city. More than 500 people in the city are involved in the firefighters’ association, reports Dieter Gerstenkorn, who represents the concerns of the fire department in the city council.
Mayor Jurgen Hennemann, who like Gerstenkorn and nine other city council representatives is himself an active member of one of the city’s fire brigades, points out the irreplaceable contribution of the volunteers, without whom a municipality like Ebern would be lost.
The municipality provides the equipment: 16 fire engines, 14 portable fire pumps (partly in special vehicles, as in Eyrichshof, Reutersbrunn, Unterpreppach and Weibenbrunn, or in trailers) and various other resources. The city also maintains 16 fire stations and tries to adapt them to the requirements in a timely manner. Currently, the extension of the fire station in Reutersbrunn (largely in own work), the new construction of a community center in Unterpreppach with two parking spaces and adjoining rooms for the fire department in Unterpreppach are on the agenda. The building is to replace the run-down equipment house in the district. Also the Bramberger Rothelme speculate on angroberuug of their Fahrzeughalle.
On average, the city puts about 300,000 euros per year into its fire departments, reports the mayor in response to a question from the FT, about 125,000 euros for ongoing operations and about 180,000 euros for investments (fire trucks, buildings). At the end of 2019, there was a new auxiliary fire-fighting group vehicle (HLF 10) for the Jesserndorf fire department, and in Ebern they already put a turntable ladder into operation in the spring, which proved itself, for example, when a 36-year-old man had to be rescued from the roof of a house in Pfarrweisach after an accident at work in September. It was also on duty at a nighttime fire at a Rentweinsdorf car dealership.
"However, the fire department is not only there to extinguish fires, but also to protect citizens, for example, during floods and other disasters", explains Dieter Gerstenkorn, since the range of the tasks and so-called technical assistance is gladly overlooked. For example, it is also called out to rescue people and animals in emergency situations, or when a person is trapped in a car after a traffic accident.
"Rescuing also means that we give the paramedic access to a home when the person in danger is no longer able to open the door themselves, or help search for missing persons.", says the 60-year-old master painter. The rescue of deceased persons, of objects or the securing of traffic in the event of accidents or large events is also part of the fire department’s range of tasks.
The decisive number
If wasps threaten the peace of the house, a slow worm hisses through the garden or a suspicious gas smell appears, call 112.
Again and again the task forces around the new commanding officer David Pfeufer from Heubach are called out in vain when fire alarms go off. Blind alarm – sometimes. But it’s better to call once too often than once too late, is the motto here. Thus it brought alone the Floriansjunger in Ebern on approximately 60 employments and more than 2500 employment hours in the year 2019.
Even with the large fire with the company Koppitz in Knetzgau the Wehren from Ebern, calibration mountain, Reutersbrunn, Unterpreppach assistance carried out. And also the climate change gets the Floriansjunger to feel, so in the summer with forest fires near Rabelsdorf and Lichtenstein or when the road in Bischwind was flooded by mud.
After each operation, the vehicles and equipment have to be refueled and upgraded "because you never know when the next operation will come", said Gerstenkorn, who also points to the drills, performance tests and hours spent maintaining and servicing the equipment.