Training Report: to prepare for mental stress

  21. January 2019

Dealing with those involved in a railway incident in a tunnel can be a major strain for emergency services. The Thuringian tunnel fire services have included this topic in their training. What this specifically means explains our training report.

Thuringia's Minister of the Interior rescued as a passenger

"A fire in a tunnel can quickly lead to panic among victims." For Thuringian Minister of the Interior, Georg Maier, this was a central finding from a tunnel drill at the International Fire Academy in Balsthal. As a visitor to the training, he took the role of a passenger whom the Thuringian course participants had to "rescue" from the tunnel. "It was a very unpleasant and realistic experience as a 'victim', which was also a bit scary", Maier describes his impressions. He was calmed by the professional approach of the firefighters in this very realistic drill. But in a real incident, firefighters have to expect other reactions.

Few actors are enough to raise many questions

The task of the firefighters advancing to extinguish the fire is clear until they meet victims in the tunnel who recognisably need help. What are they to do? And how do the victims react? Such a situation challenges even experienced officers. This is exactly what the "disturbance" should achieve: not only to prepare for one's task but also to that what exactly does not belong to the task at this moment. Which solution is then acceptable for the emergency services? How can they handle this dilemma? The drill enables an emotional approach to such a situation and the confrontation with one's own reaction.

Our training report "Preparing for mental stress" gives further examples of how Thuringia's fire services deal with this topic. It is available under the menu item Downloads next to other reports.

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