What does it take to be a rescue worker?
Daniel Ernst: Dependability, team spirit and mutual trust. They’re the hallmarks of a successful rescue unit.
So, is it more than just a job? Is it a true calling?
Daniel Ernst: I suppose you have to have a natural inclination to help people. But the work is also a lot of fun. Once people try it, they quickly realize how rewarding it is.
How did you end up working at the THW?
Daniel Ernst: Via a youth organization. My cousin was a member of our local THW youth organization and suggested I come and take a look at what they were doing. I did, and that's how it all started.
Do rescue workers have special responsibilities as role models? Do you see yourself as a role model?
Daniel Ernst: THW rescue staff definitely serve as role models. Which is why it's important for us to exude confidence. After all, we have been trained to deal with emergency situations. I am not sure if I consider myself a role model. People have to decide for themselves whether they want to volunteer for the rescue services.
Does your commitment to rescuing others stop when you're off duty and out of uniform?
Daniel Ernst: I think I can speak for everyone involved when I say that you're never off duty. It's an ingrained attitude that springs to life the moment the alarms sound.
What advice do you have for people who are considering volunteering for the emergency rescue services?
Daniel Ernst: We can always do with extra help, so my advice is "Go for it!" And be open to learning from others. The people are all very nice. I'd also recommend doing a basic training course, not least because you'll quickly find out whether emergency rescue work is the right thing for you.