Lifelong learning doesn’t stop, even in the fire department sector. The increasing number of operational devices and their complex applications demand constant further training by the operating crews. But learning doesn’t just take place in the classroom anymore. Today, learning is possible anywhere, at any time, and in the most varied forms. This poses the question: does every fire department have to master all the equipment and take advantage of training opportunities to do so, or, in the spirit of cooperation, can a pool of emergency crews of firefighters be “shared” for special operations in the near future?

In a time of technological changes and upheaval, “green technology” is no longer a vision of the future, but a reality. This ranges from sustainable firefighting materials to environmentally-friendly electrical components in vehicles. On the one hand, these innovations are positive – both for the environment as well as for public life. On the other they demand correspondingly trained personnel, so that errors are kept to a minimum during operation and dangerous situations for the crew can be avoided.

For this reason, the topic of education and training is central for fire departments. But this is not just about using the equipment itself. It has often been shown that the legal framework is also an important part of training.

So how does a firefighter of the future learn? Fact is that in-person lectures at training centers are facing stiff competition from eLearning. Bringing the training options to the firefighters will become ever more important in the future, in order to be able to juggle family and career. In this way, emergency crews can at a particular time and place control their own further training and choose the best individual learning option. The trend of gamification is also a factor, where operational scenarios can be trained in short game sequences on the computer or in the simulator, for example.

These measures have also proven important tools for recruiting new emergency crews and arousing their curiosity. Finding your way into the world of firefighting through games is a topic which should not be underestimated, especially in terms of recruiting new personnel. Because action must be taken now in order to prevent the impending lack of firefighting personnel.

Finding willing individuals who bring along the necessary skill set is becoming more difficult. Additionally, time for further training or the meaningful training of leadership positions and personalities in the firefighting sector is dwindling in hectic everyday life. That is why it should be considered whether the sharing concept, which today is found almost everywhere from cars to accommodations, could be advantageous for the firefighting sector as well.

Is it conceivable that, in the future, emergency crews or equipment could be borrowed from neighboring fire departments for special operations, as the corresponding experience or necessary knowledge is not available in-house? I look forward to your thoughts and opinions on this topic.