• 23-NOV-2014

Deisel Youth Fire Department lauded as “2014 Firefighting Team of the Year”



Two Hessian teams prevail in national Conrad Dietrich Magirus contest / Awards Ceremony with 600 guests in Ulm / International Award goes to Rio de Janeiro Fire Department  

On Friday evening, the Congress Centre Ulm was the navel of the universe for national and international firefighters. The high point was the prize awards ceremony announcing the winners of the Conrad Dietrich Magirus Prize. Loud cheering broke out in the ranks of the Youth Fire Department from Deisel – part of the North Hessian city Trendelburg, located between Paderborn and Göttingen. The first-place winners were delighted to take the coveted statue back home again. They had proven their mettle with a courageous act: pushing back against pressure in social networks. This enabled them to triumph over fire departments throughout Germany. Another Hessian team, the Marburg Fire Department, was happy at its second place win. At the same time, the international winners were also announced. The Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) fire department prevailed against strong global competition. The Absam Fire Department (Austria) came in second; third place went to the Lampedusa Fire Department (Italy).  

The winning teams were honoured at a gala event attended by some 600 guests. In addition to Antonio Benedetti, Managing Director of Magirus GmbH, the guests included Ulm mayor Ivo Gönner, Tore Eriksson, President of the International Association of Fire and Rescue Service (CTIF), and as a surprise guest, Captain Tony Tricarico from New York. He was a first responder at the World Trade Center on 11th September 2001 and used his ceremonial address to talk about the selfless and irreplaceable commitment of firefighters throughout the world. “This award stands for what we firefighters experience daily. We want to help people and save lives. The Conrad Dietrich Magirus Prize puts this commitment in the public limelight. And the next time the street is blocked and only one person realises that we’re doing our best instead of getting annoyed that they can’t get through – then much will have been won.”      
Courage, determination and team spirit 

The missions submitted for review, from Germany and all over the world, impressively showed the range of tasks and the dangers that fire departments are confronted by. Natural disasters such as devastating forest fires and a typhoon were among the operations described, as were the fighting of enormous, large fires and demanding rescue actions – where all actors involved were under the pressure of knowing that all of their deeds could result in life or death. In Germany, numerous submissions came from the social sector. They made it clear how strongly fire departments are involved in society – far beyond their classical responsibilities. “We have the greatest respect for what fire departments do. Thanks to our many employees who are active firefighters themselves, we know that this job demands their all,” said Antonio Benedetti. This is why the company launched the Conrad Dietrich Magirus Prize and why it is so happy that the award has become one of the most prestigious ones for fire departments. 

Setting a sign against a dangerous trend

This year, fire department teams from numerous cities and municipalities applied for the German prize. A jury of specialists selected the best submissions and made them available for public online voting at www.feuerwehrwelt.de. The Deisel Youth Fire Department won hands down. The young people convinced the professional jury and online voters with the action they took against a controversial drinking game that was being propagated in social networks. Instead of drinking, the members of the Youth Fire Department animated others to take part in athletic activities. In February, under the motto “Run – Don’t Drink”, they completed a speed exercise needed to obtain a fire department badge, and encouraged other fire departments to take up this exercise as well and publish their results in the Internet. “We could only shake our heads about ‘drink-till-you-drop’ bets because we find them a very dangerous trend,” explained Désirée Partosch, youth manager of the Deisel Fire Department. 

The Youth Fire Department’s idea was received by a wave of enthusiasm and triggered a nationwide echo that even reached into Austria. The action has already attracted some 300 fire brigades from throughout Germany and Austria, whose team spirit and commitment have set a clear sign against a questionable trend. “Without the support of so many fellow team members, this action would have never become so large. That’s why tonight, all fire departments who participated are the winners of the Conrad Dietrich Magirus Prize,” said Partosch.

In addition to the first-place winners, the winners in the firefighting category, the Marburg Fire Department, beamed as they accepted their trophy. In June, they had been called to fight a fire in a 12-story high-rise. Due to unusually strong smoke development, many of the building’s 220 inhabitants could no longer bring themselves to safety. Every second thus counted as the fire department localised the fire source and saved the people. The jury praised the fire department’s textbook approach. Although their numbers were initially very low, they rapidly dealt with the complex situation. 

Trip to New York 

The winners’ commitment was not only acknowledged by presentation of the trophy, but also with an exceptional prize. The Deisel Youth Fire Department and the Rio de Janeiro Fire Department each sent ten-person teams to the most famous fire department in the world: the FDNY (Fire Department of New York) – flight, hotel accommodations and an exciting program included. There, the teams got an intensive look at their American colleagues’ work. They visited various fire stations, toured what is currently the world’s most modern firefighting boat and got to experience how American firefighters learn their craft at the “Rock” Training Academy.

Ulm, 23 November 2014