Driving with blue lights is an extreme burden on the drivers, who also bear a great deal of responsibility and are held accountable in accidents – like any other motorist. The training is correspondingly extensive and conscientious and certainly not only focused on speed.
Getting to the scene is more important than getting there quickly, is the motto of the fire brigade. “There is not a fight for every second,” said Klaus Tschabuschnig, head of the state fire school. Accidents still happen during the 60,000 emergency trips that the fire service of Carinthia carries out every year. Like that Tuesday when a tank fire engine overturned on its way to a fire in Wernberg. Three firefighters had to be taken to hospital, two of whom were already able to get out.
These drivers have also followed a thorough training. With the B and C driving license as a requirement, you will undergo at least 20 hours of additional training – not only to become a driver, but also to become an operator, in order to master the technology that an emergency vehicle entails.
Driver genes are not welcomed by firefighters
The driver training is conducted in the respective work area on specific sections with ramps, underpasses, etc. At normal speed, exploration of the limits is only done during additional training in the ÖAMTC center when emergency braking or short-term evasive maneuvers are practiced with 7.5-ton trucks .
But the same applies here: safe before fast. You won’t get very far with blue light organizations with driver genes. “Then drivers are also changed,” reveals Stephan Krenn, driving commander of the FF Krumpendorf, where 20 of the 60 comrades are allowed to drive. For the former driver, the flashing blue light is a blessing and a curse. “The biggest challenge when driving in an emergency is estimating how other road users will react to blue lights and sirens.”