This technical assistance training is unique. The motto for all participants: Together we are strong.
At the end of the practice day, nine cars have been taken apart. Alicia, a firewoman from Hesse, proudly holds a hydraulic rescue ram in her hand. She looks like she had an intense day of training. Along with her comrades, she is happy about what they achieved together. Thirty-two women from the fire department and the Agency for Technical Relief (THW) participated in the workshop Technical Assistance Training – For Women Only organized by HAIX and WEBER RESCUE on the grounds of the TCRH Rescue & Assistance Training Center in Mosbach. Surrounded by dismantled cars and equipment, they gather together again for a group photo. This is where powerful women from throughout Germany and Austria meet – the north-south divide stretched from Müncheberg between Berlin and the border to Poland, to Steyr in Austria.
In three groups, the women worked through three practice scenarios each. The keywords for the scenarios were: car on its side, car on its roof and “cross-ramming”: car against a tree. The women made their plans as a team. They thought each step through together. Each suggestion was considered. They decided to try things out to test what worked or how it could work better. The coaches had poker faces the entire time. The women decided how to proceed. The coaches helped them to handle the equipment and supported them with alternative suggestions as to how they could get closer to one spot or another.
Using the same procedure all three times would have been too easy. “Every situation is different. What worked for one scenario might not work for the next traffic accident and it could require new solutions. You always have to stay creative,” said Alicia to summarize the challenges.
In the cross-ramming scenario, the adrenalin started flowing and the stress levels surged. The directions from Birgit, the coach, were “Treat the next five minutes as if it were real life. Get going!” Each woman had a specific position in the troop and carried out her assigned task calmly. The first goal: Effectively and quickly bend the B-pillar back into shape to make room for the driver. They then pushed the “pause button” so they could all get an overview of what the others had accomplished in the interim. Next, the team got the driver out through the trunk. After all, teamwork is everything. The group tackled the equipment as a team, too. Another group solved the task with a large opening on one side. Many paths lead to the summit. There is no perfect solution.
For women only
Coach Sebastian described the difference to “normal” training workshops in these words: “Everyone was extremely motivated. They came out of their shells, tested their abilities and grew. In mixed groups, women are in the minority and it seems difficult for them to take up the challenge and show what they can do. I didn’t see that here.”
To Annika and Adriane from WEBER RESCUE, the experience was also unique: “It was great to spend two days with all those powerful women, get a glimpse behind the scenes of fire departments, and participate in the training workshop ourselves. The lively exchange about the different rescue techniques and the wide variety of approaches used by firewomen from Germany and Austria impressed us a lot. We also learned a lot during the workshop – technical information, as well as about friendship.”
See more scenes from the training workshop in the video from Blaulicht on YouTube: