The steadily increasing life expectancy is also an exciting development for the fire fighting sector. Due to the increased difficulty in finding new, voluntary forces, experienced colleagues are available for support for a longer period of time, as senior experts, whether in active service, with handicraft skills or also in training.

Increased health awareness, which can be seen in today’s social developments, positively contributes to a higher and longer lasting fitness. Through the increasing demands on the emergency crews also more is demanded from older fire department members in everyday fire fighting. Some of this can be compensated for better fitness and performance in the new age generation.

But how to ensure that each age group can best contribute to active service? The most effective way is correspondingly adapted equipment. Points such as weight reduction, ergonomics or simplicity are more and more the focus here.

But what does that mean for equipment and vehicles now? It must be borne in mind that this generational diversity is also taken note of in the operation and handling of equipment. While the youth of today are familiar with smart objects and touch controls, older generations prefer mechanical control to master the situation if electronics and technology fail. Here a safe middle way must also be found to satisfy the generations accordingly.
In addition, it should be borne in mind for the operations that all age groups are able to carry out the required functions. It is also conceivable that force-supporting aids may be used to compensate for physical weaknesses, for example, in order to ensure smooth operation.

The keyword Health monitoring – Big Data in its broadest sense – is also a central component of this. Recording health data during operations and exercises and thus having a constant performance review is particularly advantageous for different age groups. In this way, intelligent clothing can at least reduce the danger for your own crew during an operation if, for example, the equipment reports a warning to the leader of the operation or the rescuer himself in case of critical measurement results.

Another important aspect is brought by Generation X ( in the form of handicraft abilities. This generation grew up even more strongly with the repair and self-made mentality as well as great appreciation of skilled trades. In this way, it continues to shape the immensely important ability of the fire department to master operations efficiently and unerringly with manual dexterity.

What approaches do you know to blend the skills of the younger generation with the experience of the older generation?