Fire brigade trains for emergencies

Greifswald.The sirens from Dersekow’s volunteer fire department go off early Saturday at 9 p.m. A mission. This time, however, it does not burn. No one should be cut out of an accident car either. Only a visibly panicky principal is waiting on the spot. Four children, the teacher and other caregivers did not return from the night hike in the woods. They had been missing for an hour when the 911 call was made. Fortunately, this time it’s just an exercise – but because it can happen really fast and happens again and again, such a case has to be played through.

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Half an hour later, the operations center’s mobile headquarters are there, and the first firefighters coordinate. They have come from Dersekow, Sassen, Levenhagen and later also Hinrichshagen, Weitenhagen and Dargelin – the voluntary fire brigades from the entire southern part of Greifswald must now search a forest area of ​​almost 3.5 square kilometers – fortunately not alone.

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Firefighters practice rescue with rescue dog squadron

A few minutes before 9 o’clock, Heiko Burgas and Anette Quandt stand in front of the school in Dersekow. He is the military chief of the Landhagen office, she is a veterinarian and honorary chief of the rescue dog squadron at the German Red Cross. Both are, so to speak, the masterminds of the comprehensive exercise – they have just made the missing children, teachers and supervisors disappear into the woods. Luckily with food and blankets. For how long they actually have to endure depends on the work of the rescue workers.

Five dogs and their handlers, other volunteers and 63 firefighters were on duty from 10 a.m. to search the huge, partly wooded, partly swampy and impassable area. The police also stopped by – of course they knew, but had to find out if the search would obstruct the traffic. After all, the affected piece of forest reached as far as the L35, from where numerous cars come from Gützkow and from the A20 to Greifswald.

Tracking apps on the mobile phone often help with the search

The police also had good advice. Not only useful for firefighters’ search operations, but before it’s too late. Before locating mobile phones via radio masts, ask relatives if they can locate the mobile phones of the missing person. Such apps are popular and useful when searching, especially for parents with young children who travel a lot alone. Because the scenario was not about apps, but about searching the field, placement was obviously not possible.

Coordination of the units was the focal point and main task of operations manager Thomas Putzar, who most recently also led the very right action in the fire on Maik Patzer’s turkey fat farm, just a village away in Klein Zastrow. The area where the children were suspected was quickly divided into four parts – three for the dogs, one for the comrades. Assign radio channels, set routes, identify starting points and make sure firefighters do not get in the way of the dog unit. Because as Anette Quandt explained, the used dogs were trained for area search. Means: You will find people no matter who. But it could also be a walker or helper in the search.

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Large search areas and lots of mosquitoes

One of the teams consisted of Hinrichshägener firefighter Steffi Janecke and dog handler Anika Remde-Priemer with his labrador Balu. The search was also a tough test for him. The heat and a search area significantly greater than what dogs usually manage. “We usually work in search areas that are a maximum of 10 hectares, after which the dogs need a break.” Their allotted area 1 was almost 41 hectares.

Finally, there was a big thank you and soup to all the emergency services.

Even with the terrain itself, the forces had their good concerns. Fallen trees, swamps, tall blackberries and many teams that had to be coordinated at the same time made the search difficult. “That’s why we do it,” summed up Heiko Burgas, who was no longer to play the panicked headmaster, summing up the exercise. “We practice these positions to recognize mistakes and make it better in an emergency.” He was pleased when all four children, the teacher and the three tutors were back in front of the school around 12 noon. They too were delighted that they were rescued so quickly. “There were a lot of mosquitoes,” Simon Textor explained, as one of the missing children.

After all: Besides the exercise and a Saturday together, there was finally lentil soup for the helpers and the missing.

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