Fast help on the coast

Sina Schlett has always been fascinated by working in the air. That's why the trained physiotherapist was drawn to mountain rescue. But the opposite, the depth, also fascinated her. When one day an emergency paramedic was wanted by the offshore rescuers, the matter was clear to her. From the Bavarian Alps, it was off to the coast. Since then, she has been on the road with the helicopter in emergencies, rescuing people from wind turbines or from distress at sea. "My absolute dream job," admits the 29-year-old, who is employed by Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe.

Since the beginning of the year, Sina Schlett has been part of the helicopter crews of the company Northern Helicopters, which are stationed in Sankt Peter-Ording on the North Sea and in Güttin on the island of Rügen in the Baltic Sea.

Especially in emergencies at sea, fast and qualified help is essential. For example, the wind farms in the German Bight are home to several hundred people working every day, sometimes under difficult conditions.

In addition to the emergency paramedic, the medical crew of the helicopters consists of an emergency doctor, two pilots and the winch operator. The medical personnel are specially trained in high-altitude rescue in offshore wind turbines. This is because the turbines are more than 100 meters high. This means that emergencies are possible in which injured people have to be rescued from this height. Water rescue is also part of the training. Even if the demands are tough - when it comes to her work, Sina Schlett is happy as can be - almost. Her hope: "I would be happy if more women were also enthusiastic about this interesting challenge." With that, she addresses an issue that rescuers on land tend not to have to worry about anymore.

"I can imagine that in a few years we will employ more women than men in the rescue service," says Kersten Enke, head of the Johanniter Academy, where about 350 female and male paramedics and 50 male and female emergency paramedics graduate every year. "Already, about 42 percent of them are women," Enke continued. "They are high-performing, communicative and have a high affinity for social-medical issues."

Women in the male domain

The Netzwerk Feuerwehrfrauen e.V., which sees its task in networking female and male members of professional fire departments, plant fire departments and volunteer fire departments as well as companies, is also optimistic about the future. After all, the proportion of women in the fire department is still low. But Chairwoman Susanne Klatt sees a steady increase in numbers "in what was previously a male domain." The association would like to contribute to the fact that, as the chairwoman emphasizes, women in the fire department become more visible in public. "This has long been the case in the rescue service," she says. And there, the physical strain is usually even higher. It is often still ingrained in people's minds that not everything can be expected of women.

Wide range of products at INTERSCHUTZ

In the meantime, however, manufacturers of equipment and protective clothing have also realized that there must be appropriate products for women. On the INTERSCHUTZ in Hanover a broad offer is to be found. The Netzwerk Feuerwehrfrauen itself is represented at the joint stand of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Leiter der Berufsfeuerwehren (AGBF) and the Vereinigung zur Förderung des Deutschen Brandschutzes (vfdb) in Hall 13 (Stand D50).

By the way, men are also welcome in the network - not only as visitors, but also as members. "It's the mix that counts," says Susanne Klatt, pointing to her organization's 28th national congress in Hamburg in early September. There, she says, a varied mix of practical and theoretical workshops will be offered, such as dealing with stress, search and rescue, high-altitude rescue, technical assistance, phenomena of fire spread, preventive fire protection, the child patient in firefighting operations, tactical ventilation, door opening and training in the real fire container.

With the two new initiatives SIE@vfdb and Vielfalt@vfdb also the association for the promotion of the German fire protection (vfdb) wants to use itself for more women and more variety with the fire departments and other institutions of the danger defense. SIE@vfdb wants to strengthen the presence of women in future technologies and create more visibility for successful female role models. With Vielfalt@vfdb, the vfdb emphasizes, among other things, the openness and appreciation for the diversity of its members. The German Firefighters' Association (DFV) is also campaigning for a greater proportion of women in emergency response with numerous initiatives.

Susanne Klatt of the Netzwerk Feuerwehrfrauen is confident that all the actions will have their effect. "It would be best if our association were superfluous one day," she says.