Please click on the small triangle in front of each topic to see the information for the different partner countries.
Significance of Volunteer Fire Brigades in the Partner Countries:
GermanyIn Germany there are four types of fire brigades:
- Berufsfeuerwehr (BF) (Professional Fire Brigade)
- Freiwillige Feuerwehr (FF) (Volunteer Fire Brigade)
- Pflichtfeuerwehr (PF) (Mandatory Fire Brigade)
- Werksfeuerwehr (WF) (Plant Fire Brigade)
In the municipality of Kabelsketal the comrades carry out their activities on a volunteer basis, which means that they are not being compensated for their work. This represents a high economic component for the municipality. Without the volunteer fire brigade, Kabelsketal would have to form a professional fire brigade, which would be a heavy financial burden for the municipality. According to the Fire Protection and Assistance Act of the State of Saxony-Anhalt, the comrades of the volunteer fire brigade are to be exempted from their work in case of emergency. In this case, employers can be compensated for the labor costs incurred during this period by the municipality. Due to the municipality`s location between the two cities of Halle (Saale) and Leipzig, the community is reliant upon investing in child and youth work to increase the future number of volunteers in the fire brigade`s staff. Considering the frequency of operations, which to a great extent are also technical assistances on motorways, it becomes clear, how important the volunteer fire brigades in our community are. The current number of members of the volunteer fire brigade in Kabelsketal is 138 comrades.
DenmarkVoluntary fire brigades are the base in Danish municipal Fire and Rescue Service. We have volunteers, part-time and full-time firefighters.
In southern part of Jutland all the firefighters are nonpaid voluntary firefighters. The rest of the firefighters are primarily voluntary firefighters, and they receive pay for their work. In large cities, we have fulltime firefighters. In southern part of Jutland, we’ve 48 voluntary fire brigades (unknown number og members), and they have a contract with the 6 municipalities in the region. In Denmark we’ve 98 municipalities, and 24 municipal Fire & Rescue Services, organized in municipal companies.
CroatiaVolunteer firefighting has a long tradition in Croatia relied on European tradition, especially on German and Austrian roots. First fire prevention documents were published in Dubrovnik in 1272, the first professional brigade was established in the town Rijeka in 1863 and a first volunteer brigade a year later in Varaždin.
Volunteer fire brigades play a big role in fire prevention, firefighting, protection from natural disasters and all other kinds of catastrophes. The second, but also very important role is the social aspect where members of brigades learn cooperation, helping others, empathy and develop a strong sense of community.
EstoniaIn Estonia there are free types of fire brigades:
- Professional Fire Brigade
- Volunteer Fire Brigade
- Volunteer Sea Rescue Brigade
In the municipality of Misso the members carry out their activities on a voluntary basis, which means that they are not being compensated for their work. This represents a high economic component for the municipality. The government only compensates for tasks given by the government. Volunteer Fire Brigades are looking after smaller regions needs for rescue or prevention work.
MTÜ Misso Vabatahtlikud has 24 members. Misso is located at the international road between Russia and Latvia. Therefore, its most important task is to react quickly to road accidents.
BulgariaVoluntary fire brigades have an important role for prevention and deal with disasters, fires and emergency situations. Voluntary fire brigades in Bulgaria are organized on territorial principle by the Mayor of the municipality and after a decision of the City council. In Lovech district there are 8 voluntary fire brigades – 1 in each municipality and total number of volunteers is 94 people.
HungarySince 2012 firefighting is state issue, the National Directorate General for Disaster Management is responsible for the connected tasks. Official fire brigades operate on the basis of law CXXVIII. (2011). With law CXCII. (2013) volunteer fire brigades gained more independency. Volunteer fire brigades help protecting the „white patches” (White patch: location, which can be reached by the official fire brigade in more than 25 minutes).
Volunteer fire brigades have also a community building role inside the society. Since the operation of more and more volunteer fire brigades marching time, number of death (2012: 140, 2013: 112, 2014: 93) and number of injured persons (2012: 912, 2013: 774, 2014: 729) decreased. In 2013 volunteer fire fighters helped people in 2778 cases, while in 2014 in 4257 cases.
There are 646 volunteer fire brigades operating in Hungary and they have altogether approximately 19 000 members.
Organization of Volunteer Fire Brigades in the Partner Countries:
GermanyIn Germany, fire protection is regulated by the individual Federal States. By law, each municipality must ensure protective fire-fighting and technical assistance. To fulfill these tasks, each community must set up, equip and maintain a powerful fire brigade.
In accordance with the necessary coverage of fire and disaster control within the legally defined auxiliary time, the voluntary fire brigade of the municipality of Kabelsketal is divided into six local fire brigades. The volunteer fire brigade is subordinate to the mayor as the carrier of the fire brigade. To lead the brigade the mayor uses the service of the municipal fire brigade chief who himself is being assisted by two deputies. To direct the local fire brigades, the municipal fire brigade management uses the services of the respective local fire brigade chiefs.
The volunteer fire brigade is divided into the following departments:
- Deployment Department
- Department of Age and Honorary
- Youth Programs Department
- Children's department
DenmarkVoluntary fire brigades are an integrated part of the municipal Fire and Rescue Services, and organized after a decision of the City council.
Example: Organization at a municipal fire and rescue service:
The municipal fire & rescue services are financed by taxes.
CroatiaIn Croatia, there are about 1800 volunteer brigades, 61 professional departments, and around 80 industrial brigades (volunteer and professional) with approximately 61 000 operative fire fighters. All fire brigades are united in firefighting associations of municipalities, towns, districts and counties, and 20 firefighting associations of counties together with Zagreb Firefighting Association, are unified into the Croatian Firefighting Association- main organization.
Zagreb Firefighting Association unites 57 volunteer brigades and professional department. The Association has 9115 members, of which 2538 children and youth, 3682 operational members and 2895 reserved members. In this 57 volunteer brigades, 6 of them are central brigades situated on the city edges. These brigades have more equipment and men power since they are further from the city. The Law says that Fire department should be on the scene in maximum 15 minutes and that’s why these volunteer fire departments are being selected as central brigades on these city areas.
Each brigade (volunteer and professional) and association has a commander, who is responsible for interventions, preparedness and education of firefighters on his territory. Each volunteer brigade and association has a president, who is representing it and who is responsible for its development and its promotion.
According to the Croatian constitution, firefighting is a matter of local municipalities.
EstoniaIn Estonia, fire protection is regulated by the Law of Rescue, Law of Association of Rescue and Director´s Directives. The volunteer fire brigade is subordinate to the Fire Department as the carrier of the fire brigade. Municipalities are not responsible for the volunteer fire brigade. Volunteer fire brigade is run by the board members. An operative commander is in charge in case of fire or accidents and submits to professional operative commander.
BulgariaVoluntary fire brigades are organized in each municipality after a decision of the City council for individual actions and / or support to the professional fire services. The Mayor appoints the Leader of the VFB. In one VFB could be organized specific groups according to the qualification, professional experience and preferences of the volunteers. In case of accidents, disasters or other situations the Mayor makes a monthly schedule for duties of the volunteers coordinated with the Leader of the Fire service.
HungaryIn Hungary volunteer fire brigades are independent, however there is a kind of hierarchy due to the fact whether they can operate individually or only with professional fire brigades. The firefighting activities are the duty of the National Directorate General for Disaster Management. However, as all the volunteer fire brigades are local non-profit organizations, the local government/municipality contributes to the daily operation of the volunteer fire brigades. This contribution is partly financial, party infrastructural in the way that the building necessary for the operation is owned by the municipality/local government. In a volunteer fire brigade there are different positions depending on the size of the brigade. Every volunteer fire brigade has a commander, and if the brigade has got many firefighters deputy commander, platoon leader can be also appointed.
There are proposals created especially for volunteer fire brigades in order to provide financial contribution to their operation, and they can carry out business activities. They are mainly financed from central budget and municipal financial resources. The law regarding the operation of volunteer fire brigades states that if there is a volunteer fire brigade in the area of a municipality it should contribute to the maintenance of the fire brigades.
Cooperation with Professional Fire Brigades:
GermanyThe municipality of Kabelsketal relies exclusively on the volunteer fire brigade with their voluntary members. In large-scale operations near municipal boundaries or on highways, it is not uncommon for professional and volunteer fire brigades to support each other. In this case, there is no special authority between professional and volunteer firefighters. The fire brigade, which arrives at the place of accident at first, takes over the operational command. The group leader will take charge of the operation and usually keep it until the end of the mission. When the professional fire brigade arrives, it is placed under the direction of the volunteer fire brigade. The professional fire service of Halle is responsible on the grounds of the city of Halle. Therefore, on the grounds of the city of Halle even if our fire brigades arrive at site first the professional fire brigade takes the operations control also when arriving later. (§ 8, para. 1 BrSchG) Our fire brigade keeps the responsibility on the grounds of the municipality Kabelsketal even if the professional fire service shows a higher rank. (§ 2 para. 2 no. 1 BrSchG) The head of the volunteer fire brigade is free to give the responsibility to the professional fire brigade after their arrival, if he thinks that the situation is too difficult.
DenmarkThe professionals and volunteer fire fighters are organized in the same brigades. The education to become a firefighter in Denmark are the same, no matter if you’re full-time, part-time or voluntary firefighter. They are organized in the same municipal Fire & Rescue service. They are considered equal.
CroatiaProfessional and volunteer fire fighters are equal regarding their duties, but professional units work based on the Law of Public Institutions, and voluntary one on the Law of Associations of Citizens. In case of big interventions, volunteer firefighters provide manpower, technical and logistic support to professionals. They can also act independently in some interventions; but when they work together with professionals, then volunteers are under their command.
EstoniaThe municipality of Misso relies exclusively on the volunteer fire brigade with their voluntary members. In large-scale operations near municipal boundaries or on freeway, it is common for professional and volunteer fire brigades to support each other. In this case, there is no special authority between professional and volunteer firefighters. The professional fire brigade which arrives at the place of accident first, takes over the operational command. In the case when the fire brigade that arrived on the spot at first takes the operational command, the operative commander of the volunteer brigade are equal to members of the brigades.
BulgariaProfessional firefighters provide methodological and expert assistance to the territorial authorities in terms of disaster protection and organizing the activities of voluntary formations. They have the power to engage officials, volunteers and citizens for assistance. Professional firefighters and volunteers are NOT in one common fire command. The professionals provide methodological and expert assistance in organizing the activity of the voluntary formations by participating in the selection, training and implementation of volunteer activities.
The Voluntary Formations (VF) in Bulgaria are separated from the professional firefighters structure, subordinated to the mayor of the respective municipality. VF can act on their own. Their functional significance depends on whether or not there is a fire service in the respective municipality. Normally the Bulgarian Fire Brigades are in the bigger municipal centers. In spite of its autonomy, in most real situations it is assumed that the two structures will act together. When acting jointly, the management is taken over by the fire authorities. In this case, volunteers support the actions of professional firefighters. In this respect, the VF and Regional / or Local fire brigades have a prepared interaction plan agreed with the head of the fire service and approved by the mayor of the municipality. To improve interaction, the two structures periodically organize joint training. In municipalities where there is no local professional fire brigade the VF largely cover their functions. The activities of the VF are financially secured by the municipalities and the state, and those of professional fire brigades by the Ministry of Interior.
HungaryIn Hungary professional and volunteer fire brigades operate as separate organizations. Usually professional brigades act in case of fire, however there are some cases when volunteer fire brigades can operate individually. For acting in fires individually the volunteer fire brigades should sign a contract with the National Directorate General for Disaster Management.
Volunteer fire brigades can act in case of fires individually only with the fulfilment of the following requirements:
- Implementation of system setting practices
- Providing minimum 1500 hours daily and 3000 hours night on-call duties per year
- Required qualification of volunteer fire fighters (firefighting training course or higher qualification). In case of emergency availability of 1 fire truck and at least 4 fire fighters
Tasks of Volunteer Fire Fighters:
GermanyThe tasks of the volunteer fire brigade include the prevention of fire hazards (preventive fire protection), firefighting (defense against fire) and the assistance in case of accidents and emergencies as well as the education about fire-protective behavior. In addition to the obligations under the Fire Protection Law and with the consent of the carrier, the fire brigade can be called upon to take over additional tasks if this does not impair their operational readiness. Comrades of the fire brigades (Einsatzabteilung) may only be involved in operations if they have reached the age of 18, have met the mentally and physically requirements, and have been appointed as a firefighter. Firefighters from the age of 16 who have completed their basic training “Truppmannausbildung Teil 1” may be present in individual operations for training purposes with the consent of the head of operations. In case of underage persons, a separate declaration of consent from the legal guardian must be available. The comrades of the volunteer fire department confirm with the signature of the application for admission that they are healthy and fully up to the requirements of the fire brigade.
G26/3: Carrier of a breathing apparatus
The initial examination takes place before starting the activity. The following follow-up examination periods apply:
- for equipment carriers up to 50 years of age before the end of 36 months,
- for filter device holders over 50 years of age before the expiration of 24 months,
- for carriers of self-contained devices over 50 years of age before the end of 12 months.
The deadlines vary depending on the age:
- <25 years: Every 36 months
- 25 - 49 years: every 24 - 36 months
- from the age of 50: every 12 to 18 months
- Rescue operations
- Restrict and eliminate fires
- Search and rescue operations
- CBRNE operations
- Carrying out urgent emergency restoration work
- First aid to victims of fires, disasters and emergencies
The purpose with the volunteer rescue service, is to support and complement the Fire- & Rescue stations. The tasks are various and include support for the incident commander, catering for firefighters and evacuees, prehospital support at incidents with mass casualties, logistic support and firefighting.
Tasks for our additional volunteer Rescue Service:
- Support at large and long-lasting incidents
- Replacement at long-lasting incidents
- Climate change related incidents - Flooding, hurricanes, cloudburst, heavy rain/snow
- Logistic service, transport
- Lightning at incidents
- Refilling air tanks
- Provide water for firefighting
- Emergency power
- Support for the incident command - Communication, documentation, drone
CroatiaThe main task of volunteer firefighters is to protect and serve their local communities through fire prevention. With all kind of activities they work on fire prevention (education of citizens, demonstrations of exercises, work with children and youth, communication via social networks, organizing competitions,..). They are trained for firefighting, urban search and rescue, accidents in traffic, manpower support in wildfires on coast during summer. In rural parts of country and smaller municipalities they work independently because there aren’t professional brigades (or they are too far away) and usually these volunteer brigades employ part time firefighters who are paid. In Zagreb city there is command that volunteer fire department can work independently if the nearest professional fire department is more than 15 minutes away and when is immediately dangerous to life.
EstoniaThe tasks of the volunteer fire brigade include the prevention of fire hazards (preventive fire protection), firefighting (defense against fire) and the assistance in case of accidents and emergencies as well as the education about fire-protective behavior. Members of the fire brigades may only be involved in operations if they have reached the age of 18, have met the mentally and physically requirements, and have completed 16 h and 36 h training. After 16 h training, volunteer fire fighters can only do prevention work, but after passing 36 h training they can take part in rescue events.
BulgariaVolunteer formations are established on a territorial basis, for independent actions and/ or for supporting the main parts of the Professional Fire Department. The Voluntary Formations perform the following basic activities on the protection of the population:
- rescue operations;
- restriction and liquidation of fires;
- search and rescue operations;
- execution of emergency emergency restoration works;
- first aid to the victims of fires, disasters and emergencies;
- other security-related operations.
- participate in training, training, competitions and exercises;
- keep ready to appear and perform tasks.
HungaryVolunteer fire brigades generally fulfil the following tasks:
- providing information to the public about the necessary fire protection tasks
- participating in firefighting activities with professional fire fighters
- in case they fulfil the required criteria acting individually in fires, fire disasters
- Firefighting training and education of young people
- holding presentations in schools
- sharing fire protection contents on their own website
- holding presentations and informative lectures regarding firefighting tasks on local and regional events