How high is the risk of forest fires in Potsdam? So far, the city has been lucky

Potsdam. Forest fires have not been a problem in the state capital so far. Rainer Schulz, the head of municipal security, told the press on Wednesday that in 2020-2022 only 5,000 square meters of forest and half a hectare of open space were burned. This resulted in 51 missions – said the deputy chief of the professional fire brigade. This bears no comparison to the current forest fires in the country, which the Potsdam weir is also calling for. For example, three to four fire trucks, each with three crews, are on permanent duty in the Elbe Elster district, where it burns up to 850 hectares, some of which are ammunition-laden areas that can only be extinguished from the air. Forces are replaced every 24 hours.

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Potsdam’s professional fire department sends no more than a quarter of its fire trucks to foreign circles. On request, however, it also provides a new Hytrans system – a megapump placed in a roll-off container, which is located near water reservoirs and can pump extinguishing water with the required pressure of several hundred meters through the hoses to the fire source. On the other hand, an ordinary fire engine can “shoot” about 50 meters, a water cannon – 80 meters.

► LIVE TABLE:The situation of forest fires in Brandenburg at a glance

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Ready for action: the Potsdam professional fire brigade.

The naves are widened to 60 meters

To clear corridors up to 60 meters in length in major fire areas and to prevent the spread of sparks, the Bundeswehr uses armored rescue vehicles, which often pave the way with skid plate wheel loaders of the Federal Technical Assistance Agency (THW). However, the military does not have fire tanks either, only a free economy and actually industrial plants. According to Schulz, government authorities can also demand such technology.

In the event of forest fires and other major disasters, the Potsdam fire service currently has too little opportunity to alert the public. “We have to be much better at protecting the population,” said responsible department head Brigitte Meyer. Material stocks are stocked and, for example, in new warehouses, emergency beds and perishable food are stored.

Rainer Schulz (Emergency Response Manager) and Brigitte Meier (Public Order, Safety, Social and Health Councilor).

Rainer Schulz (Emergency Response Manager) and Brigitte Meier (Public Order, Safety, Social and Health Councilor).

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Only 17 sirens remained in the city

The state capital of Brandenburg no longer has a comprehensive siren system: in 1992, more than 90 sirens in the city declared an emergency, today there are only 17. However, according to Schulz, they are actually used to alert 15 volunteers. brigades that also have informed “pipers” that members carry with them all the time. 19 new sirens were ordered and are to be installed from next year in such high places in the city that they can also be used to broadcast announcements to the public through a loudspeaker, which will be heard from a distance. So far this is not possible. “The siren can quickly cause panic“Says Schulz,” especially since the signal in the event of a major fire sounds almost the same as in the case of an anti-aircraft alarm. ” But sirens are better alerts than cell phone warning apps: “What’s the use of a cell phone app if you only have a few, and then your cell phone keeps turning off?” Asks Schulz.

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Delivery problems with manufacturers

It cannot promise that all 19 new sirens will also go live in the coming year; it depends on the provider. Currently, three manufacturers in Germany have overflowing order books: “After the Ahr valley flood in Rhineland-Palatinate, every place wants a siren.” Announcement. The first is in House 1 on the campus of the municipal administration at Friedrich-Ebert-Strasse / Hegelallee, the second is in the high-rise sports school in the airship harbor. The fire department has not announced any other locations yet. In addition to the first batch of the order, 19 sirens are planned for another 19, which means that then 56 can be used. However, Schulz believes that nationwide from 60 to 80.

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For Rainer Schulz, head of the Crisis Response in Potsdam, 60 to 80 sirens will be needed in Potsdam - 19 of them were ordered.

For Rainer Schulz, head of the Crisis Response in Potsdam, 60 to 80 sirens will be needed in Potsdam – 19 of them were ordered.

100 firefighting wells in the city

An integral part of the fight against major fires in Potsdam is the approximately 100 firefighting wells that are maintained throughout the city by voluntary fire brigades and tested multiple times with test suction extractors. Unlike conventional hydrants, which can only release as much water as is available in the drinking water network, firefighting wells extend to the bottom of the groundwater and can draw an unlimited amount of water from a depth of up to 83 meters from there.

A professional fire brigade has a drone to detect, assess and monitor fires, but it’s currently broken. According to Schulz, it is under renovation and two more are being bought. They can be equipped in various ways, and in the case of thermal imaging cameras, they are able to locate the remnants of heat and even undiscovered people.

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