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When cold fire projections create ideal conditions for tunnel training

We are occasionally asked why we use cold fire projections in our railway training tunnel in Balsthal in addition to gas-operated fire mockups. This article shows how we use flame projections to protect people, the environment and equipment and why this has also proven to be advantageous from a didactic point of view.


Ventilation for hydrogen release in underground car parks

The latest investigations by the Research Centre for Fire Protection Technology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology show that: If hydrogen is released from a hydrogen-powered vehicle in an underground car park, it quickly dissipates from the structure under favourable structural conditions. Positive pressure ventilation can hardly accelerate this process in the special situation investigated. However, it would probably not pose a hazard under these conditions, as positive pressure…


What to do when vehicles are locked in a smoke-filled tunnel?

A recurring question from our course participants is: «What should we do if we come across locked vehicles in a smoke-filled tunnel during a search?» Our Didactics and Development Team has discussed the question and recommends: «Make yourself noticeable. If there is no response from the vehicle: Do not open it and search the next vehicle.»


Get to know your tunnel - on foot is best

«Know your tunnel» is one of the most important teachings of the International Fire Academy. In this article, we provide suggestions on how firefighters can organise and design inspections of railway and road tunnels and what needs to be considered.


Train for tunnel operations with the simplest means on-site

Firefighting operations in tunnels are personnel-intensive, and the procedure must be trained. Many fire services have part of their personnel trained at our facility. However, that is not enough. The routines for these deployments must be practised with the entire team. It is why many participants asked for tips and examples for training at their location. This resulted in a new offer for fire services: the «Training Methodology» advanced modules.


Tunnel fires from 2012 to 2023: Statistics from media reports

There are no official statistics on fire incidents in underground transport systems. For this reason, the International Fire Academy has been analysing media reports on fire incidents in tunnels since the beginning of 2012. According to the report, there are at least three fires a month in railway or road tunnels in Switzerland, Austria and Germany alone.


Markus Vogt hands over training consulting to Clemens Pessel

Clemens Pessel is the new central contact for fire services outside Switzerland at the International Fire Academy. Since summer 2023, he has been working closely with his predecessor, Markus Vogt, to prepare to take over the role of training consultant for German and English-speaking fire services. Since 1 January 2024, he now bears the main responsibility. In the interview, both explain how the preparations for this handover occurred.

© Nagold Fire Service

Challenging conditions at the underground car park fire

It was the first time the Nagold volunteer fire service was alerted to a major fire in an underground car park beneath an apartment building at 3:01 a.m. on 8 July 2023. The residents of the house with 16 residential units had already left the building. At the end of the operation, fire chief Thomas Reiff was glad that no one was injured, including firefighters, which would not be unusual in such an operation. Since then, the issue of underground car park operations has received increased…


Systematically reduce hazards in the event of hydrogen leaks

At 0:55 a.m. on 21 June 2023, the alarm was raised at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich: Hydrogen leakage in the compressor room on the 2nd basement floor. The initial measures were immediately apparent for Daniel Münzenmayer, a member of the Zurich professional fire service for 37 years. He summarises how he experienced the deployment in his report.