• DFV President Hans-Peter Kröger: Big crowds at DFV pavilion, outstanding conferences
  • Hannover. "INTERSCHUTZ is the ultimate success story. Rather than being just a platform for selling products and services, it has become a cult event for fire services everywhere!" Glowing words from Hans-Peter Kröger, President of the German Fire Service Association (DFV), who was delighted at the response his organization enjoyed at the Interschutz show in Hannover, Germany. The enthusiasm and buzz was certainly everywhere to be felt – at the DFV's mega-pavilion and at the many DFV events around the venue. This year's INTERSCHUTZ, the world's leading exhibition for rescue, fire prevention, disaster relief, safety and security, pulled in a record 157,000 visitors over its six-day season.

    "This fair has given our firefighting volunteers of every age bracket, from kids on up to retirees, a huge shot of inspiration and motivation for the years ahead," Kröger remarked at the close of the six-day event. The DFV pavilion in Hall 27 was a magnet for fire service personnel from all over Germany and beyond. And no wonder, with all those fascinating displays and enthusiastic support staff and plenty of fire service experts on hand to chat and give advice. As Kröger put it: "Our showcase was an all-round success."

    Supporting events: Input for the future of volunteer firefighting in Europe

    The German Fire Service Association (DFV) did its part to shore up the future of volunteer firefighting with an array of special events at several locations. At the European Fire Services Conference, for instance, an international gathering of EU Member State representatives and leaders from national-level fire service associations called for better representation of fire service interests on EU bodies. In their closing declaration, the attendees, who came from Denmark, Germany, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria and Hungary, highlighted the principles of solidarity, subsidiarity and prevention.

    Another key event organized by the DFV was the 2015 German Fire Service Association Conference / Volunteer Rescue Services Congress, which this year was themed "Destination: Future." There, the Minister of the Interior of the German state of Baden-Württemberg, Reinhold Gall – himself a currently serving volunteer firefighter – made much of the long and proud tradition of public service among Germany's various rescue volunteers. "Attracting and retaining volunteers is not about offering payment; it's about putting in place a regulatory framework that supports, rather than hinders, them in their work!" he said. The participating leaders of emergency rescue organizations, the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) and various federal-level government authorities engaged in broad-based discussion on the challenges facing the volunteer rescue services and on possible solutions. Among the challenges discussed was demographic change, regarding which DFV President Hans-Peter Kröger had this to say: "Demographic change will not be a problem, so long as we all pull together."

    The next gathering of the firefighting community in five years' time will be an extra-special affair because INTERSCHUTZ will be co-staged with the 29th German Firefighting Convention. Mark it in your diaries now: 15 to 20 June 2020, Hannover, Germany.

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