Updated by CHARLES BANFI
After 18 months of long distance calls, emails, PowerPoint slide presentations and meetings a Partnership now exists between the Wallau Volunteer Fire Company in Germany and the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company of Maryland. I believe this partnership will benefit both organizations and will establish a bond between firefighters that extends across the “pond”.
There is much we can learn from each other as we progress in this effort.
The more familiar we become with each other the more we will come to realize that we have more in common than not. In order for this project to work, we need to establish communications with each other and learn about each other. Yes the language difference will be a challenge but it is not insurmountable for those that are willing to take a risk and try new things.
The beauty of this partnership is that we can make it into whatever we want. Ultimately, I would like to see crews from both companies visit each other to train and learn see how the other side lives and works. Some may say that is a bridge to far but I say it can be done if both sides want it to happen.
I intend to use this site to share information with you on what your brothers and sister firefighters in Germany are doing and experiencing. By doing this, we will come to understand that we have more in common then not and share many of the same hardships and successes.
Recent Galleries & Updates
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Rescue Training (May 15, 2018)
On May 15th, the Wallau Feuer Gesellschaft (Fire Company) conducted rescue training under the watchful eye of Leutnant (Lieutenant) Armin Hilzinger.
The equipment involved included 1 Engine, 1 Rescue, and 1 Utility.
There were 15 firefighters that participated.
Mission: Responding Wallau units arrive at the scene of a structure fire, determine accountability from facility representative, and execute a rescue of an injured employee trapped on the 2nd floor. Additionally, the first due Ladder truck from the city of Hofheim was involved in a traffic accident and will not arrive. Second due is enroute with an ETA of 20 minutes. On-scene units must use organic equipment to effect the rescue and suppress the fire.
Synopsis: Upon arrival, each Gruppe (Engine Crew) receives instruction from their Gruppeen Furhrer (Officers) on the plan of attck. First arriving Gruppe was assigned the rescue mission. Second arriving Gruppe established water flow, stretched lines, and commenced to extinguish the fire (simulated). Without the ladder truck, the rescue Gruppe would have to utilize their available resources to execute the rescue. They quickly assembled ladder sections, demonstrated effective ladder and rope skills and utilized a basket to lower the patient to safety. Meanwhile, the suppression team did their job and put the fire out.
The Big Dig (April 26, 2018)
The following pictures document the construction of the new Wallau fire station. The demolition took about a week and a half and now the contractors are all set to begin construction. The fire company is operating out of their temporary station in a nearby industrial park. I will keep you posted on the construction process and future training events. Hope everyone is doing well! Stay safe!
Wallau Volunteer Fire Company Former Home Demolished (April 3, 2018)
The former home of the Wallau Volunteer Fire Company was demolished. All that is left of the former structure is a big hole in the ground with a fence around it and construction buildings. The company expects the new building to be complete within the year but one never knows about construction delays. The new building will be larger than the old building with female/male locker rooms, larger truck bays, basement and two floors about the bay. Everyone is looking forward to moving out of the temporary quarters into the new station. I am sure the grand opening will be a huge event. Hopefully, representatives from the BAVFC will be able to attend the grand occasion.
Major Building Fire in the Hofheim-Wallau District (March 16th, 2018)
The Wallau Volunteer Fire Company responded to a major building fire in Hofheim-Wallau district. The fire location was between Wallau and a nearby town called Massenheim. The building was a wood/carpenter shop thereby guaranteeing a ready fuel source. Over 150 firefighters from around the Hofheim and Wiesbaden area responded to the scene. Responding units immediately encountered a water supply problem in this rural location. Fire command requested additional units from the surrounding area who responded with engines, tankers, and trucks. Firefighters could not save the carpentry shop but were able to save the home. No injuries were reported. See attached pictures.
Showing BAVFC Pride
The department’s top 2017 responders in turnout gear and wearing BAVFC shirts which were their Christmas gifts. The pictures were taken inside the old fire station alongside one of their engines. Note: The current fire station is awaiting demolition and then construction of their new station on the same spot. They are a great bunch of dedicated Volunteers who face similar issues as us (work, family, bills, training, recruitment/retention, etc.)
BAVFC Meeting Night – Pictures of Wallau’s Partnership Memo and Gifts
Annual Summer Fest
These pictures are of the Wallau Feuerwehr’s Annual Summer Fest which is their major fund raiser for the year. The event is held in front of the fire station and attracts a pretty good crowd. They sell food and beverages (beer, wine, apple wine and soft drinks).