Quick to help when things get risky!
The fire brigade of the German town of Radevormwald is manned exclusively by locally recruited volunteers. The town’s mayor Dr. Josef Korsten and the municipal fire chief Wilfried Fischer therefore issued joint invitations to various companies to come and receive … Continue reading
The fire brigade of the German town of Radevormwald is manned exclusively by locally recruited volunteers. The town’s mayor Dr. Josef Korsten and the municipal fire chief Wilfried Fischer therefore issued joint invitations to various companies to come and receive thanks for their commitment in this respect. Without their support and willingness to release the necessary personnel it would be extremely difficult, to have well-trained fire crews ready for urgent callout whenever an emergency might arise.
The invited guests included a delegation from Kuhn, as three members of our staff have for many years been seconded to emergency fire-fighting duties – also during working hours.
From the left: Stefan Braun, Marc Schaefer, Bartholomaeus Mertens
It is obviously not always possible, for example while working in a foundry, simply to drop tools and leave. In the event of an incident, they are of course free to decide, whether to man the fire engine or carry on working. Marc Schaefer, who works in our Shipping Department, explains that it is comparatively easier to do so in departments like his own or Bookkeeping and Accounts. He answered no fewer than five callouts last year. Stefan Braun from Controlling likewise attended two incidents last year.
The third member of the crew is Bartholomaeus Mertens, a welding supervisor. A member of the volunteer fire brigade since his twelfth birthday, he is now the secretary and deputy fire chief. He belongs to a rural fire crew, and regards his role as a sort of neighbourhood watch. It is, as he says, “nice to be able to help people out, and also to have workmates that you can trust and count on absolutely.”
Comradeship and a willingness to help are also important to Stefan Braun: “Helping people is what it’s all about. But I’m also happy and proud to be able to deal with the occasional out-of-the ordinary incident in way that turns out well.”
He was likewise an early starter, having joined the youth section of the fire brigade at the suggestion of a school classmate. His youngest son, just 11½ years old, followed in dad’s footsteps, along with Marc Schaefer’s son, by joining the youth section two weeks ago. The baton definitely seems to be passed down the line in the families concerned. “If a father belongs to the brigade, his son also often joins it as well. There are also three brothers in our unit. It’s like one big family really. I reckon it has something to do with the fact that we need to place such blind trust in each other.”
Being on duty is hard on the body, as the work can be physically demanding. Stefan Braun recalls a bus accident in September 2009, which resulted in five deaths. “There’s always a debriefing after incidents like that, to go over what happened. It’s what makes it possible to carry on as before.” A member of the clergy might also be present during these sessions.
Membership of the volunteer fire brigade naturally also has an effect on family life, as weekly drills and regular meetings take up a large part of your free time. As Marc Schaefer comments it briefly and succinctly: “Others go to the football at weekends; I report to the fire station.”
We are likewise very pleased to be able to count on three such committed colleagues, and will continue to support their activities in this respect.
Photo: Kuhn Edelstahl