For years, many firefighters have been repeatedly insulted, threatened or even physically attacked during their operations. To change this situation, the firefighters would like to see more initiative from the public. As part of the 29th German Firefighters' Day and INTERSCHUTZ 2022, a free symposium on this topic will therefore be held on June 24 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Convention Center on the exhibition grounds. At this event, politicians, associations and the public will jointly discuss how the worrying development can be stopped. Guests are welcome to attend.


The symposium is organized by employees of the fire department in the federal program "Zusammenhalt durch Teilhabe", abbreviated Z:T. INTERSCHUTZ offers the opportunity to get to know the twelve different Z:T projects of the state fire department associations and the German Fire Brigades Association, which are dedicated to conflict and extremism prevention on a daily basis.

We spoke with Denny Saul, the head of the "Get Involved, Participate, Take Responsibility" (EMVü) project at the Thuringian Firefighters Association.

Question: What experience has your project gained with the topic of "Violence Prevention Symposium"?

Denny Saul: In Thuringia, this topic is anchored directly in the Thuringian Ministry of the Interior and Municipal Affairs (TMIK). The "EMVü" project team is in close contact with the relevant representatives of the TMIK. A working group, which bundles common interests and brings together the various actors in the field, has already been initiated. A screening of experiences of violence during deployment in Thuringia is currently being carried out. Once the needs have been identified, further preventive measures will follow.

Question: What is your project doing to prevent violence and conflict? What are your plans for the future?

Denny Saul: Threats, verbal abuse and violence are not uncommon, even in the work of aid organizations. Due to the multi-layered tasks and operational areas of the fire departments in Thuringia, difficult operational situations can also arise. Since rescue operations are often emergencies, situational difficulties such as uncertainty, fear and stress are to be expected on the part of those involved. Most conflict situations arise from strong emotions, such as feeling weak or overwhelmed, from misunderstandings or the impression of not being respected. But alcohol and drug use can also play a role in conflicts. Those who know how to deal with the parties involved in a self-confident and appropriate manner can remain capable of acting even in difficult situations and resolve disputes with confidence. For this reason, we have developed an advanced training unit that is intended to improve the comrades' ability to act. Based on this, we want to develop further measures in the future.

Question: Does the Corona crisis bring new challenges in the areas of violence and extremism?

Denny Saul: Conspiracy narratives and fake news surrounding the Corona crisis, like right-wing populism, are reaching more and more people, including in their personal sphere - both privately and professionally. Racism, anti-Semitism and violence can be means of communication that are available to everyone, so it is the task of every individual, but also of civil society actors, to take a clear position and show their stance.

Question: On June 24, there will be a symposium on "Violence Prevention Symposium" at INTERSCHUTZ. What are your hopes for politics and the fire department? What has to happen in Germany to stop the attacks against firefighters?

Denny Saul: First and foremost, it's about not losing respect and regard for each other, both on and off the job. What we are experiencing at the moment is a "brutalization" of social interaction, which is repeatedly taking hold in both the digital and analog worlds, fueled by the Corona crisis. Among them are attacks on emergency personnel. The cement that holds this society together must be renewed, and politics and civil society can only do this together. This will be an important task for all democrats.