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.
Without training consulting, there would be no customised offer
Fire service training must be planned consistently and, therefore, in a structured manner. This is the only way to successively train crew members who are to work together in the field. What is the role of training consulting? «We want to tailor the training for operations in tunnels to the needs of the fire services in the best possible way,» explains Markus Vogt. «One example: For a single-tube road tunnel, it is sometimes sensible to carry out different training drills than for a twin-tube tunnel because certain scenarios cannot occur there.»
The range of options is too complex for self-service
«Every fire service is different,» adds Clemens Pessel. It is not only the tunnel for which a fire service is responsible that is decisive, but also, for example, its operational procedures or the size and structure of the fire service. As a result, many factors are considered in the consulting and development of the offer. The selection process is too complex to make a booking at the click of a mouse.
Travelling is one of the most important jobs
Clemens Pessel has been travelling a lot with Markus Vogt since summer 2023. The training consultants develop the courses together with the fire services - and the best way to do this is through personal dialogue. In the coming months, further destinations are also on the itinerary, including, for example, the State Fire Service School in Telfs (A), the Bonn Fire Service (D) for a full-day on-site training course with a practical component and the BER Airport Fire Service (D), also for on-site training.
A firefighter with many years of training experience
Clemens Pessel has the best qualifications for his new role: He has been an instructor in the fire service since 2007 and an instructor in tunnel training at the International Fire Academy since 2015. He is familiar with both the tunnel lessons and many fire services from different countries with their individual procedures. He has also supported fire services in developing their operational concepts for tunnels of varying complexity together with Christian Brauner. This work sharpens the focus on possible problems and their solutions.
The key message for fire services
When asked about the most important message for their customers, Clemens Pessel and Markus Vogt answer in unison: «Fire service training officers should feel free to call at any time with questions about tunnel training!» And: «We have gained much experience over the years and are happy to exchange ideas. We are delighted to pass on our experience. We know what has proven successful and what has not.» The two training consultants aim to «work together with the fire services to find a solution for their training that is valuable and feasible».
«We know how valuable the personal experiences the course participants witness in the training tunnels at the International Fire Academy are. We want to enable firefighters to gain this experience,» says Markus Vogt, summarising the guiding principle of the training consulting service, «You can't put the experience in a bag and send it off. The firefighters must do this themselves - we try to pave the way for them.»
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