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Digital tables for tactical tabletop simulations in the new Tactics Centre

The International Fire Academy has put its new Tactics Centre into operation. Larger rooms and modern tabletop exercise technology offer significantly better training conditions for tabletop exercises as an essential element of tactical training. The new Tactics Centre is also increasingly being used for valuable tactics workshops.


Airport railway station entirely smoke-filled during train fire

Shortly after being alerted to the fire of an ICE train in the underground Cologne/Bonn airport station on 10 November 2022, the Cologne fire service in charge received an initial all-clear: «ICE already evacuated». Nevertheless, four people suffered smoke inhalation injuries from the fire - three of them outside the station area. Daniel Richmann from the Cologne Fire Service and Luca Battista from the supporting Airport Fire Service at Cologne/Bonn Airport describe the course of the operation.


Everyone wants to get out in an emergency: Lifts as escape routes?

In the Violet Crown Cinema, Austin (USA), Angelika Stenzel-Twinbear first discovered a lift designated as an escape route in case of fire. Since then, she has been intensively involved with this topic because, as a specialist engineer for fire protection and barrier-free planning and construction, she wants to contribute to getting as many people as possible out of the building as quickly as possible in the event of a fire. In our article, she explains how this can be done in practice. She also…


Tunnel training for fire services from Portugal's «Island of Tun-nels»

Those who want to get to know many different tunnels in the smallest of areas can do so on the Portuguese island of Madeira. In 2020, there were 127 road tunnels on the island. More will be added through the expansion of the motorways. In order to prepare firefighters for operations in road tunnels, all instructors of the São João da Madeira Fire Training Centre participated in the first intensive road tunnel course on behalf of the Escola National de Bombeiros (ENB) in Sintra, Portugal, in…


Human behaviour during a tunnel fire (part 2/3): Motorists use all means of escape

The evaluation of tunnel incidents has shown: Tunnel users do not necessarily follow the designated escape routes. They try to use all means to get out of a tunnel: Turning their vehicle around, getting into other vehicles, and trying to escape on foot through the tunnel tube to the portal. All this corresponds to the natural escape behaviour of humans, including remaining in the vehicle. It is because people perceive several different risks, which they weigh against each other to make their…


Robotics in firefighting operations: technology influences tactics

Before fire services can use the potential of robots on a larger scale, Robert Grafe, Managing Director of the German Rescue Robotics Centre (Deutschen Rettungsrobotik-Zentrums; DRZ) in Dortmund, sees a considerable need for research and development. It does not primarily refer to the utilised technologies. Rather, it is about practical experience gained through field research and from incident operations.


Smoke generator for practices and trials in tunnels

For drills and trials in newly constructed tunnels, fire services in Hesse wanted a smoke generator that would allow them to simulate the behaviour of fire smoke during a major incident in a tunnel as realistically as possible. But such a device did not exist until now. This lack was shown in 2019 by a market analysis conducted by district fire inspector Christian Sasse (Werra-Meissner district). After this analysis, development work began on the FT-SDAN 500 tunnel fire simulator, which Volker…

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Belgian firefighters test new possibilities for underground car park operations

Two topics dominated the feedback from the firefighters from Belgium who completed the one-and-a-half-day intensive underground car park course at our training car park: tactical ventilation and hose management. Many things were new and good for the participants, which they are now evaluating for further training at home.


Human behaviour during a tunnel fire (part 1/3): Every tunnel user can be in need of help

Modern road tunnels support self-rescue with their safety installations. But people do not behave in an ideal way - especially not in dangerous situations. Even if a tunnel facility meets all safety standards, every person in the tunnel can be at risk during a fire - not just people for whom escape would be troublesome. Unfavourable behaviour is often simply human. It is something that firefighters should also expect. In our three-part series, we first look at the behaviour of tunnel users in…