A very pleasing 2010

12. June 2011

92 UTF courses and training sessions with around 1,200 participants were held in 2010. The International Fire Academy ifa ran courses and training sessions in German, French, Italian and English. Participants were requested to provide a written assessment of all basic UTF courses. With a feedback rate of 93%, the courses were, on average, assessed as "good" to "very good" with a mark of 5.5. Course participants were particularly satisfied with the training infrastructure and above-average specialist skills. Potential for improvement was recognised in the area of course administration. All in all, a brilliant result upon which we can build and improve.

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CTIF at the International Fire Academy ifa

18. May 2011

The Education & Training working group of the Comité Technique International de prévention et d'extinction du Feu (CTIF) met from 16 to 18 May 2011 at the International Fire Academy ifa in Balsthal. The CTIF is an international organisation which promotes worldwide co-operation between fire service personnel and experts in the fire and rescue sector. The organisation has 48 member countries and 46 associate members. Under the leadership of Wolfgang Lindner (Head of the Hamburg Fire Academy), The 11-person delegation closely inspects international experiences in the field of instruction/training, analysing requirements and discussing new opportunities for education and training on an ongoing basis. Needless to say, the members of the working group did not pass up the chance to scrutinise the International Fire Academy ifa’s training infrastructure. The members of the working group were given an introduction to the subject of "underground transportation facilities" and experienced the motivation which resulted in the planning and construction of these extensive, unique tunnel training facilities at first hand. The necessity of such a training infrastructure was confirmed and the comprehensive training concept presented. During the subsequent guided tour of the tunnel training facilities in Balsthal, the delegate members received a detailed impression of the extensive training infrastructure and the very realistic experiences it facilitates. Impressed by the lavish, modern complex and many new insights regarding training for deployment in underground transportation facilities, the delegates then said their goodbyes. We thank them for their visit.

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Brigade de sapeurs-pompiers de Paris

05. May 2011

On 5 May 2011, General Gilles Glin, the future Fire Chief of the Brigade de sapeurs-pompiers de Paris, visited the International Fire Academy ifa. He was accompanied by Lieutenant-Colonel Ronan Poilverd and Captain Philippe Fort. The three professionals took great interest in the instruction on incident management in underground transportation facilities and then inspected the tunnel training facilities in Balsthal. After lunch, the three guests moved on to the tunnel training facilities in Lungern, where they attended the "Hellfire" deployment exercise. They did not pass up the opportunity to personally experience a front-line exercise, wearing breathing equipment and protective clothing. After their experience, these three extremely accomplished fire brigade officers from Paris assessed their training as realistic and very impressive. Totally convinced by the necessity for this type of training, according to General Glin at the end of the course, it has now become the task of the senior management of the Brigade de sapeurs-pompiers de Paris to find the ways and means to train as many fire brigade personnel as possible in coping with incidents in underground transportation facilities at the International Fire Academy ifa.

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Cantina Caverna in Lungern

15. March 2011

With the construction of "Brünig Indoor", the largest underground shooting range in the world and the tunnel training facilities of the International Fire Academy ifa, the offering of Cantina Caverna has been extended and the requirements of the marksmen, markswomen and fire service personnel met. The Cantina Caverna restaurant has seating for up to 120 people. This is where people can meet to exchange experiences and for a drink and something to eat after practising their shooting or taking part in arduous fire brigade training sessions. Friends and colleagues can meet at the bar for a beer and a cosy chat after a day's practice. The company Gasser Felstechnik AG set up its works canteen in the rocks of the Brünig Massif in 2001. With this project, the foundation stone was laid for the catering services of the Cantina Caverna.  A colourful collection of people gather here: whether they are construction workers, bankers, fitters, politicians or fire crews, they are all welcome and feel at home here.

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Deployment exercises of the Gotthard Fire & Rescue Service (Switzerland)

25. February 2011

Its area of operations is the Gotthard road tunnel and the professionals of the Gotthard Fire & Rescue Service enhance their know-how in the tunnel training facilities in Lungern. Beat Walther, Deputy Fire Chief, summarised the training offered in Lungern: "For our team, this was the first chance to take part in a fire drill many times in succession - an ideal opportunity." The training objectives were clearly defined: Training in deployment techniques and tactics with the crew's own special water tender under practical conditions, using systematic exercises to demonstrate the dangers and techniques of a deployment involving fire and smoke in a tunnel and achieving a higher safety level whilst accomplishing difficult tasks. Apart from individual exercises, the Gotthard Fire & Rescue Service trained with two HGVs. Detailed post-training discussions rounded off each lesson and allowed valuable conclusions to be made for deployment at future incidents. Would you like to know more about the days that the Gotthard Fire & Rescue Service Lungern spent training? Then please click here and read our latest first-hand report.

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Vital in tunnel fires: extinguish flames, save lives!

08. February 2011

In tunnel fires, rescue work can be made extremely difficult due to smoke and heat. Consequently in many cases it makes more sense tactically to prioritise extinguishing the fire: the less dense the smoke, the faster tunnels and vehicles can be searched and any people found taken to safety. Therefore the development team at the International Fire Academy ifa came to this conclusion (in accordance with Swiss regulations): In tunnel fires extinguish flames to save lives! The success of the deployment depends critically on the speed of the firefighting. In future therefore, the International Fire Academy ifa will concentrate intensively on fighting vehicle fires in UTF basic courses: when every second counts, further improvement can be achieved with little effor.

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Extraordinary vocal coaching for instructors

20. January 2011

If you are to be understood, it is vital to speak loudly and clearly, and in this respect correct breathing is crucial. With a heavy twin pack unit on your back and breathing mask in place, this quickly becomes very challenging and arduous. Experienced vocal coach Anja Oser from Heidelberg, Germany was brought in to be able to comply with these high demands. Not only did she teach the full-time instructors the theoretical basics of correct speaking whilst also protecting the voice, but also put on the breathing equipment herself, in order to put into practice what had been worked out together beforehand. Anja Oser spent two days training the ifa instructors, with one of the days actually in the tunnel training facilities. And she demonstrated what you can do with your own voice when wearing heavy breathing equipment. After a day wearing breathing equipment the vocal coach had to admit that it is surprising what instructors have to put up with on a daily basis under these conditions. For their part, the instructors were thrilled with this training which was far from their daily norm, and finally surprised what techniques and means can be adopted so you can use your own voice more effectively over a long period.

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Mont Blanc field personnel train in Lungern (France/Italy)

13. January 2011

In November/December 2010 all the fire and rescue professionals from the Mont Blanc tunnel underwent training at the International Fire Academy ifa Lungern. The binational management company GEIE-TMB (Gruppo Europeo di Interesse Economico del Traforo del Monte Bianco) operates the Mont Blanc road tunnel and is also responsible for its safety. Safety in the Mont Blanc road tunnel has been afforded absolute top priority, and not only since the major incident in 1999. The GEIE-TMB has used the unique tunnel training facilities of the International Fire Academy ifa on a regular basis ever since they were made available. The Mont Blanc field personnel really appreciate these very realistic training opportunities in the Brünig Massif.

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Instruction and Course Management sections merged

01. January 2011

Experience during the first year of operations of the International Fire Academy ifa has shown us that full-time UTF instructors are subjected to greater physical stress than was first anticipated. Giving instruction in the underground transportation facilities of Balsthal and Lungern requires complete physical commitment from instructors. In order to compensate for these physically strenuous activities, the management of the International Fire Academy ifa has, on the one hand, increased the number of full-time instructors and, on the other, also assigned some administrative work to instructors. This means that instructors receive sufficient recovery time to regain their strength after intensive instruction sessions. Consequently, from an organisational point of view the Course Management and Training & Development sections have been moved to the new Training section. To find our more about the organisation of the International Fire Academy ifa please see here

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Visit of Taiwanese Ambassador

21. December 2010

The worldwide unique tunnel training facilities of the International Fire Academy ifa in Lungern could also be "putting the heat" on Taiwanese fire service personnel in future. Ambassador Fadah Hsieh viewed the facilities for himself and was visibly enthusiastic about the training opportunities offered. Accompanied by Hans Hess (Obwalden Council of States) and Urs Kummer (Managing Director of the International Fire Academy ifa), the Taiwanese Ambassador personally inspected the 150 metre-long training tunnel. The interest of Taiwan is based on the fact that it has the fifth longest road tunnel in the world (Hsuehshan Tunnel, 12.7 km long, built in 2007) and the field personnel in that country only have modest tunnel training facilities. "We can learn a lot from Switzerland," was Fadah Hsieh's conclusion.

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Corpo Valdostano dei Vigili del Fuoco (Italy)

30. November 2010

The people in charge of the Municipal Fire Brigade of the autonomous region of Aostatal in Italy firstly had ten full-time fire service instructors trained in the tunnel training facilities of the International Fire Academy ifa. Afterwards, in November 2010,  30 more top personnel from the  Municipal Fire Brigade each successfully completed an intensive one and a half day course in the tunnel training facilities in Lungern. Ongoing training courses are already being planned with the Italian fire service professionals for 2011.

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How far can you see and hear in smoke?

17. October 2010

Field personnel can be secured mechanically, visually or acoustically. Which means: the return route must be felt, seen or it must be possible to hear the direction in which to go. The use of security lines has proved to be difficult in practice when deployed in a tunnel, which is why the International Fire Academy ifa currently uses LED lights for orientation purposes. In the artificial smoke created in the training facilities this works very well. But in a real emergency? In order to answer this question, in the spring of 2011 the International Fire Academy ifa will systematically test the use of visual and acoustic orientation techniques. As soon as we have the results, you will be the first to hear…

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International Fire Academy ifa goes online

28. July 2010

With its new website, the International Fire Academy ifa, which is Europe's leading fire service school for classroom instruction and practical training in underground transportation facilities, has at its disposal with immediate effect a professional, electronic information and communications platform. On the site, interested fire brigades, fire service authorities and operators of underground transportation facilities can find out about the training offered and undertake a virtual tour of the unique infrastructure.

Anyone wanting to further enhance their knowledge will find extensive information on the subject of "Deployment in underground transportation facilities" on the website. For example, you will find downloads of the new brochure "Learn, train, advance", as well as large numbers of first-hand reports from fire brigades that have already taken instruction or undergone training here.

Take a look for yourself and discover the unique training offered by the International Fire Academy ifa. We look forward to your visit – be it online or in person!

You will find more information here

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Perfect your tactics

15. July 2010

The tactics centre of the International Fire Academy ifa forms a link between theory and practice. Without any physical stresses and strains, heat or smoke, precarious deployment situations can be run through here in peace and quiet. This is made possible by three exercise rooms with projection tables, on which different scenarios can be shown.

In spite of the safe environment, a sense of realism starts in the tactics centre. Every situation is represented to scale here and illustrates the real conditions in a previously defined location. This means you have an excellent opportunity to examine your deployment tactics and to optimise them before the first real situation.

You will find more information here

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Courses in 2nd semester of 2010

18. July 2010

The second semester at the International Fire Academy ifa starts at the end of August. Working for the Swiss Federal Roads Office FEDRO, until the end of the year, a wide range of basic courses for deployment in underground transportation facilities will again be held in German and Italian.

The basic road course enables fire brigades that are responsible for national road tunnels to prepare themselves ideally for deployment in underground transportation facilities. The recognition and appraisal of dangers, as well as correct deployment techniques are amongst the central themes of these practical courses.

The basic road course consists of an initial, two-day training block in Balsthal, as well as a second one-day intensive training session in Lungern, three to six months later.

You will find more information here

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New ifa brochure

15. June 2010

The International Fire Academy ifa presents itself in this new informative brochure "Learn, train, advance".   This eight-page document tells you about the training opportunities at our fire service school for underground transportation facilities and gives an initial insight into our unique infrastructure with two tunnel training facilities. You can download the brochure here


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First-hand reports

15. June 2010

Read in First-hand reports what other European fire brigades think about their training at the International Fire Academy ifa. Apart from German and Austrian fire brigades, Swiss institutions also have their say, including the Federal Roads Office FEDRO and Swiss Railways SBB. You will find their First-hand reports here

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2010 introductory offer: a day's training in Lungern

17. May 2010

Discover the opportunities offered by our one-of-a-kind tunnel training facility in Lungern: with our 2010 introductory offer, interested fire brigades can complete a day's training at especially advantageous rates and experience the training potential of our facility on a one-to-one basis.

The price for a day's fire training in our ignitable tunnel training facility is a lump-sum of CHF 7,000.–, which includes technicians, instructors, consumables, etc.. Catering costs CHF 40.- per person and includes morning tea, lunch and afternoon snack. Overnight accommodation is available in Lungern.

Are you interested? Then please gives us a call, and we will be only too pleased to offer you further advice.
Telephone: +41 62 386 11 11
e-mail: contact@ifa.swiss.ch

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UTF Instructor training 3rd level

30. April 2010

Participants in the 3rd level of UTF (underground transportation facilities) instructor training came from all over Switzerland, as well as Liechtenstein. The three-day training course from 28 to 30 April 2010 started with initial exercises, before the instructors delved deeper into the subject and the trainees were able to learn first-hand about the great training potential of the tunnel training facilities.

"Very intensive and informative" was the unanimous conclusion on the three days spent in Balsthal. Several deployment exercises were carried out, search and rescue techniques practised and training given in firefighting in road and rail tunnels.

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Fire Brigade Erfurt Town (Germany)

27. April 2010

On 9 and 10 April 2010, an eight-man delegation from the Erfurt Town Fire Brigade (Germany) made its way to the ifa [the Swiss Inter-cantonal Fire Service Training Centre]. An ambitious training programme awaited them, which was planned to take place both in the Balsthal tunnel practice facility and in the Lungern practice galleries. Over these two days, search and rescue techniques were practised, and they were given training in firefighting in road and rail tunnels. These eight professionals had already learned plenty of theory about deployment tactics in underground transportation facilities, but up to that point had scarcely had the opportunity to gather practical experience. Therefore, these professional fire service personnel took advantage of the two days in the ifa to intensively practise what they had previously learned under realistic conditions, as well as to hone their tactics and techniques.

Once the training course was over, the delegation travelled home full of enthusiasm for the tunnel practice facilities and for the training they had completed. They left having made new friendships and gained many impressive experiences.

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Recreation room and cafeteria

08. March 2010

From now on, all our course participants and instructors will be able to make use of our recreation room, equipped with TV, music and games; whether for a game of billiards, table football or darts with colleagues, at any time, for as long as you want and completely free of charge. Thirsty? The new cafeteria and bar is open on selected days and evenings for a cool beer or a glass of wine. Come and join your friends for the evening and discuss the day’s events. Our staff look forward to serving you!

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Modern double rooms

08. March 2010

Course participants and instructors can now stay overnight in our 22 modern rooms. Each double room has plenty of storage space, its own WC and shower and two workstations. Wireless LAN has been installed to give guests instant access to the Internet or emails via their notebook or Smartphone. The cost for an overnight stay including breakfast, Internet access and use of the recreation room is CHF 80.-- per person for the double room or CHF 120.-- for single occupancy. Be our guest and enjoy the convenience of staying overnight at the ifa in Balsthal.

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UVA instructor training

08. March 2010

Our first team of UVA militia instructors were trained in the autumn of 2009. From the 24th – 26th February 2010, 15 more UVA instructors from the cantons of Bern, Obwalden, Graubünden, St Gallen, Ticino, Thurgau, Valais and Zurich took part in a stimulating three-day programme as the first stage of their training. After an initial exercise, the instructors were given a comprehensive introduction to the whole underground transportation facility (UVA) subject area and then intensively schooled in the technical aspects of the tunnel training facility.

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New refectory is up and running

08. March 2010

The new, attractively-designed refectory in the reception building (Building A) has been fully operational since 8th February 2010. With seating for up to 200, it also has a large free-flow area. A new self-service salad bar has been added to give guests an even wider choice of daily menu. Our modern refectory will not only be used to offer meals to course participants; it can also be used as a flexible event venue for many diverse purposes. We hope all our visitors enjoy their meals and their stay and come back for seconds!

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UVA trials and tests

08. March 2010

Having studied fundamental issues like ensuring reliable navigation in smoke-filled tunnels, there has now been a shift towards issues such as “swift operations management”. While time is undoubtedly a decisive factor in any tunnel incident, precipitated actions are not the solution for swift search and rescue or fire fighting operations; here, it is vital that the fire fighters are masters of their trade. Systematic tests and trials are a useful tool used in the development of our UVA teaching programme so that the most efficient and reliable practices can be methodically ascertained. Numerous trials and tests were carried out in the tunnel training facility in the first week of February 2010. Fire brigade units from the cantons of Basel (Land), Basel (City), Bern and Solothurn were joined by colleagues from Germany and members of the ifa educational methodology team to complete a comprehensive series of trials aimed at scrutinising, checking and, if necessary, refining tactical and technical issues in readiness for the up and coming UVA courses. Although we already have a very comprehensive UVA teaching programme, it will always be possible to add any new developments. These insights can, however, only be gained through targeted tests and trials. Exchanges of ideas and know-how from other countries and particularly experiences gained from real tunnel incidents in Switzerland and abroad are also of the utmost importance.

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A visit from the French Fire Officers School

08. March 2010

On the 28th January 2010, trainee fire officers from the ENSOSP (Higher National School for Fire Officers) visited the ifa and its new tunnel training facility. Once the initial introductions to the facility were complete, the 50 or so trainee officers were given a tour of the tunnel training facility under the competent guidance of Roland Schielly (UVA* instructor). Our visitors were visibly impressed and left us having enjoyed their visit and with many new ideas and impressions.
*UVA = Subterranean Traffic Facility

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Landeck (A) Fire Brigade tunnel training

08. March 2010

The International Fire Academy ifa and the Landeck Fire Brigade have been exchanging ideas and know-how on all aspects of tunnel incidents for the last two years. On the 16th January 2010, a twelve man team of fire fighters from Landeck (Austria) became the first EU fire brigade to train in the new tunnel training facility. They brought a special tunnel operations fire engine (RLF-T) and a mobile fire fighting support unit (LUF60) with them and came to train in the 260m long tunnel training facility, specially designed to offer fire fighters optimum tunnel training. They also took the opportunity to test specific technical issues and tactical strategies 1:1, to fine tune their reaction to tunnel-specific questions and try out special equipment like the LUF60.
Please go to the Landeck Fire Brigade website > for a full report, many photos and even a video documenting their training at the ifa. It’s well worth a look!

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Open Days at Balsthal and Lungern

07. December 2009

On a beautiful autumn weekend on the 3rd and 4th of October 2009, the inter-cantonal fire brigade training centre – ifa, opened its doors in Balsthal and Lungern to welcome just under 18,000 enthusiastic visitors who all wanted to make the most of this unique opportunity to take a look behind the scenes. Around 12,000 visitors came to the extensive grounds of the ifa in Balsthal to find out more about the various training possibilities. The new tunnel training facilities, the Swiss Railways (SBB) internal fire- fighting service fire and rescue trains, the various sized (model) fire brigade vehicles, the hydraulic platform rides that lifted visitors to a height of 35 metres, the road traffic accident rescue exercises and the model fire brigade vehicle show all drew large crowds.  Visitors appreciated the clear and informative signposting for the numerous tours and exhibitions. Our younger visitors thoroughly enjoyed trying on the protective clothing worn by fire fighters and putting out fires with an extinguishing bucket. And what better way to enjoy the mild autumn sun than by discussing the open day with other visitors over a traditional grilled “Bratwurst” sausage? The P&S (Protection and Support) Competence Centre (ziko) also joined the ifa in opening its doors in Balsthal and made a valuable contribution to the success of the weekend.  The weekend was also accompanied by various musical attractions including the P&S band, the city of Basel Caledonia Pipe Band and a jazz matinee. The 6,000 or so interested visitors to the Lungern site wanted to see the new ifa tunnel training facility and the infrastructure of our partner in Lungern, Gasser Felstechnik AG. The main attraction proved to be the 130m fire tunnel that allows emergency services to practice mastering extreme operational scenarios under very realistic conditions. Also on offer for visitors was the chance to see the impressive range of rock engineering technology displayed by our partner Gasser Felstechnik AG.
Thanks to the generous support of our many helpers, the organising committee can look back with pride and contentment on two successful large scale events without any glitches or accidents.

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Inaugural celebrations for the tunnel training facility at Lungern

07. December 2009

On the 3rd October 2009 at 10.30am, the inter-cantonal fire brigade training centre ifa and its partner in Lungern, Gasser Felstechnik AG welcomed around 80 guests to the opening ceremony in Lungern. After the aperitif buffet, Bernard Fröhlich, Director of the Basel Land Building Insurance officially welcomed the guests in the fire tunnel. This was followed by an impressive film that clearly highlighted why tunnel training facilities are indispensible for the emergency services.
Once Thomas Gasser, the Managing Director of Gasser Felstechnik AG, had finished greeting the guests, it was the turn of Regierungsrat (senior administration official) Hans Wallimann to address them. He expressed not only his pleasure that, in future, fire brigade members would be able to train in Lungern but also emphasized the importance of the facility for the canton of Obwalden in general. Jürg Röthlisberger, there to represent the commissioning authority, highlighted the importance of the tunnel training facility for the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) before handing over to the Reverend Dirk Günther who performed a blessing ceremony. To round off the event, Thomas Gasser symbolically presented the keys of the facility to the ifa Managing Director, Urs Kummer, accompanied by a symphony of sirens, blue lights and smoke.
Once the individual guided tours were complete, it was time for the guests and hosts to enjoy an excellent meal in the Cava restaurant, to musical accompaniment. Bernhard Fröhlich thanked the guests cordially at the end of the inauguration ceremony and as they left, each guest received two “commemorative keepsakes”.

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Inaugural celebrations for the tunnel training facility at Balsthal

07. December 2009

On the 2nd October 2009 at 4pm, the ifa welcomed around 400 guests from the spheres of politics, the authorities, the economy and the fire brigade to an inauguration ceremony in Balsthal. Strengthened by a lavish aperitif buffet, our guests enjoyed an initial tour of the training car park and across the outdoor complex before returning to the buffet area. This was followed by the guests’ first visit to the tunnel training facility with a tour through the road tunnel via the railway tunnel and ending at the marquis. The tour was divided into various thematic areas, all accompanied by tunnel-high video images.
Once inside the marquis, the guests, all in celebratory mood, were cordially welcomed by Bernhard Fröhlich, Director of the Basel Land Building Insurance who was also Master of Ceremonies for the evening.  First to entertain the guests was the Alt-Kommandanten-Chor (Choir whose members are all former Chief Fire Officers). This was followed by an emotional film and then by a welcoming address from Regierungsrätin (senior administration official) Esther Gassler to all the guests. She expressed her pleasure, not only at the fact that fire fighters would henceforth be able to train under realistic conditions in the tunnel training facility, but also most particularly at the fact that an important employer had become established in the Klus region of the town.
The highlight of the evening was provided by Federal Councillor Moritz Leuenberger who delivered a highly entertaining speech full of trenchant comments and charm, to the delight of our guests. He described the tunnel training facility as the most farsighted and meaningful tunnel in the world; “indeed the father of all tunnels - a supertunnel in fact.” You could see it in his eyes; he had never had so much fun opening a tunnel!
The evening meal was specially designed to reflect the origins of the ifa with a starter from Solothurn, a main course from Obwalden and a dessert from the Basel region. After the starter, the Tambourenverein Laupersdorf (Tambour Association from Laupersdorf) regaled guests with their expertise followed by Walter Corsten, Managing Director of Kidde Fire Trainers GmbH, who greeted the guests with a short speech. Once the main course was complete, the ifa guests were dazzled by a spectacular fire show.  The Reverends Alfred Aebersold and Heinz Bader performed an ecumenical blessing ceremony in the training tunnel and this was broadcast live in the marquis. And the climax of the evening was, of course, the symbolic presentation of the keys to the tunnel training facility to Urs Kummer, Managing Director of the ifa by Alain Rossier, Director of the Solothurn Building Insurance and accompanied, in true fire brigade fashion, by blue lights, sirens and smoke.
Bernhard Fröhlich took the opportunity to thank the many guests from home and abroad at the end of the inauguration ceremony before the evening was rounded off with an emotional film composed of the various highlights. All of the guests were presented with a “commemorative keepsake” as they left the marquis.

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Media conference of the 29th September 2009

07. December 2009

Around 30 media representatives attended the media conference in Balsthal to hear the latest information about the tunnel training facilities in Balsthal and Lungern presented by the ifa in conjunction with FEDRO (the Federal Roads Office, represented by Jürg Röthlisberger) and the Swiss Railways (SBB, represented by Bruno Stehrenberger). 
At the end of the conference, the journalists were given a guided tour of the tunnel training facility in Balsthal by Christian Schwarz, the head of Training and Development at the ifa. They were lead via the railway tunnel and car park to the road tunnel, where an impressive fire-fighting exercise was staged. The incident team, equipped with breathing apparatus, extinguished the blazing vehicles. The media representatives were then given the opportunity to interview the firefighters as well as the representatives from the media conference. The event was concluded with an aperitif buffet.
Click here for the official media folder

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Tunnel training facility in Lungern: the test phase has begun

13. November 2009

As construction work was completed on time and the Technical Inspectorate of the Swiss Gas Industry (TISG) inspected and approved the fire simulation installations in March 2009, the intensive test phase was able to begin in April. The new tunnel training facility in Lungern will not only undergo rigorous testing; numerous experiments will also be carried out so that the results can be used in developing the teaching programme.
At the same time, the training modules will be drawn up in detail, checked and given a final polish.
The image shows a firefighting exercise during instructor training.
The first pilot courses with selected fire brigades / members of the fire brigade are planned for the autumn.
At the moment, we are pulling out all the stops to complete the course planning and design so that the standard training courses can begin from 2010.
As soon as the course dates, requirements and costs are available, we will publish them.

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Balsthal tunnel training facility: the construction work is progressing according to plan

13. November 2009

A unique training facility is under construction in Balsthal that will be used to provide specialised training in subterranean traffic facilities (UVA) for the emergency services. The training facility comprises the following sections: a road tunnel (260m) including crosscut, shelter area and a utility tunnel; a railway tunnel (70m) with an emergency stop, railway tracks laid on gravel, entrance embankment and a three storey car park with numerous access points.
All the basic structural building work for the training facility has been completed, leaving just the interior work, which began at staggered intervals in the spring. The first stage involved finishing the railway tunnel. This has now been inspected and approved by the Technical Inspectorate of the Swiss Gas Industry (TISG) so that the test phase can now go ahead.
At the current time, the electromechanical systems are being installed in the road tunnel and car park. These will be finished at the end of August along with the gas-related fittings so that the ifa can take over control of the fully operational facility in September. The subsequent test phase will last until the end of the year. From January 2010 it should be possible to begin training.
All three sections of the facility are equipped with gas-fired fire simulation installations and the most modern technology so that realistic and efficient training conditions can be guaranteed. In this way, we can be flexible in responding to the needs of participants, allowing them to develop at the highest level without taking unnecessary safety risks.

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