Het is dan toch gelukt.
Na enkele maanden onderhandelen met enkele internet brandweerpublicaties verscheen onlangs op de website van Fire Chief het volgende artikel.
Dit maandblad, dat wordt toegezonden aan de meeste amerikaanse brandweercommandanten, is dan ook het magazine, en dit reeds 50 jaar lang voor elke departement, voor elke leider wordt uitgegeven.
Established in 1956, FIRE CHIEF is the magazine for "Every Department, Every Leader."
Onder current issue vind je deze maand :
By Paul Vanlook
Sep 1, 2006 12:00 PM
The Belgian Fire Observers is a non-profit organization that arranges training trips for Belgian firefighters to visit U.S. fire departments. Trips last about a week, with the observers — generally a group of about 10 firefighters — staying in the firehouses of the departments they visit and riding along on calls. The observers pay all their own expenses.
The most recent trip was to the Tualatin Valley (Ore.) Fire & Rescue Department. From June 6-13, a group of eight Belgian firefighters, myself included, rode along with our American colleagues, observing their ways of operation, taking a closer look at their equipment, studying their methods of response, and sharing experiences as to how things are different (or similar) to the way they are done in Europe. Some of us came from large urban Belgian departments and others from departments in small communities, but we all were eager to see and observe how things were done in Tualatin Valley.
Some of the high points of the trip were a look behind the scenes of a 911 dispatch center, an opportunity to observe the different training methods being used at the Tualatin Valley training facility, and a chance to study TVFR fleet management Our TVFR hosts made us feel most welcome. No request seemed too big.
One of the major differences we observed was how resources are managed. We knew that most American departments maintain small fire stations spread around the territory they protect — not at all like what we know in Belgium. Our capital city of Brussels has a fire station that houses 88 pieces of apparatus.
For most of us, it also was surprising how most firefighters are held in such high regard by the people they meet. We saw it during daily shopping runs when the fire apparatus were used and in all the contacts the TVFR staff had with the general population. We even witnessed somebody bringing a cake to the station. It was awesome.
That brings up another difference: Man, those firefighters can cook (and eat)! We always thought there was another crew coming over, but it was only for the guys in the station.
Another surprise was the volume of calls the stations handle. It seemed hard to imagine at first, but it was because of all the medical runs U.S. departments do. It's uncommon in Belgium for the fire department to be dispatched for every medical call; only when there is a concern that an ambulance crew might have problems with entering a premises or something like that will a small fire crew will be dispatched.
The fact that American departments send a full-sized piece of apparatus to a traffic incident also was strange for us to observe. Most Belgian fire department have small vehicles (the size of one of your battalion chief's cars) equipped with power rescue tools that can be sent to a traffic incident for extrication, while the nearest hospital will dispatch a medical urgency unit with a doctor on board.
The trip to Oregon was a great success. Another Belgian Fire Observer trip is planned for this year to Oakland, Calif., and one to Charleston, S.C., in 2007.
Paul Vanlook is a battalion chief with the Gavere Fire Department in Belgium.