02 Jan 2023

CTIF´s year of 2022 in Review - 2nd Quarter April - June


As April approached in 2022, most countries were already lifting their Covid-19 restrictions. For CTIF, the easing of restrictions meant commission meetings and other activities could slowly start going back to normal. For firefighters in Ukraine however, abnormal was at this point "the new normal", as the war between Russia and Ukraine continued. 


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Read the CTIF 2022 - First Quarter Review

Read the CTIF 2022 - third quarter review

Read the CTIF 2022 - Fourth Quarter Review

Screenshot of the CTIF Women in Fire & Rescue monthly meeting reportThe international fire fighting fair Interschutz had been postponed twice since the beginningScreenshot of Dr Christoph Weltecke taking over the Volunteer Firefighter Commission of the pandemic in 2020, and the CTIF Firefighter´s Olympics in Celje, Slovenia had had to be cancelled for the second time in a row.

Finally, CTIF could start planning to attend and organize important events and actually look forward to once meet colleagues in person again. 

Some commissions and working groups continued to meet online, and the video conferencing technology had by now become common place and was seen as a very useful tool by most members of CTIF.

During  the 7th meeting of the CTIF Volunteer Firefighter Commission , in the beginning of April, members discussed how Covid-19 had impacted fire services in various countries, and also the impact of the European  Working Time Directive on volunteer firefighters. 

This was also when Christoph Weltecke, Germany, took over the Commission and led his first meeting.


Screenshot of the CTIF Webinar in April 2022As the pandemic finally started slowed down, world tension was speeding up

The war in Ukraine continued in April with devastating consequences for civilians. When CTIF held its yearly Webinar with lectures online, the Ukraine State Emergency Service were guest speakers and showed a grim video report about the harsh realities of the war and especially how it affected fire services in the war zone. 

The webinar was well attended and mostly focused on Extreme Weather and Natural Preparedness, climate change and what we can expect in the future. Some of the headlining topics were: Extreme floods in Germany, summer 2021,  The wildfires in Greece 2021 and Extreme Weather in Canada 2021: Floods, mudslides, extreme temperatures and explosive wildfires + A personal story of how a small BC voluntary fire service got cut off from all outside help during a powerful storm. 

By mid April, the Ukraine State Emergency Service also was moving into closer cooperation with CTIF, as the Ukrainian Rescue Committee invited Mira Leinonen as Chair of the CTIF Women in Fire and Rescue Services’ Commission to discuss their ongoing focus on gender-specific topics within the Fire and Rescue Service. CTIF was represented by the Chair, Mira Leinonen, the President of CTIF  Milan Dubravac and Commission Secretary Nicola Lown. 


Screenshot of the world fire statistics call for submissions by May 1stLandslides in South Africa - and a rush to finish the Fire Statistics Magazine for 2020

News of bad weather continued when South Africa was struck with severe flooding in mid April. The death toll was still rising on April 20th: More than 440 people died in the floods and landslides of the previous week in the eastern parts of South Africa. The military was by now deployed to assist in the rescue efforts.

The temporary exclusion of Russia from CTIF´s activities was affecting one CTIF Commission more than others: The CTIF Center for Fire Statistics have always performed large amounts of good work by a very small group of dedicated people. Members from Russia has always been an integral part of this work, and by the end of April, the 2020 issue of the 2020 Fire Statistics Magazine was quite delayed in the production schedule. In an effort to speed the editorial efforts up, a very tight deadline was set as the Center, now lead by the Berlin office, made a plea to the member countries to submit their statistics already by May 1st. 


Screenshot of the trilingual announcement on CTIF.orgNew trilingual function on CTIF.org

In the beginning of May, 2022, CTIF unveiled its new trilingual function on the website CTIF.org.  In order to better serve our members, we have added high quality machine translations into German and French to our website. Members are encouraged to spot incorrectly machine translated texts , and report them to CTIF for manual correction. 

Spanish will be added soon, and also other languages in the future. English is our working language, and most of the articles are written with English as a source language. However, members of CTIF are still of course encouraged to submit papers, articles and reports in any of the three  official languages. 


Greater awareness of the dangers of lithium-ion batteries - and even more extreme weather

By May 2022, the world was starting to become more and more aware of the dangers of incorrect handling of Lithium-Ion batteries. Reports of a large increase in lithium battery related fires over the last 6 years were published in major news media outlets, however for active members of CTIF, these dangers were nothing new. This time, it was the the Fire and Rescue Services in Vancouver, BC  who issuing a warning to citizens to be careful when charging anything lithium/ion batteries. The warning didn´t just involve electric cars but also smaller devices, like anything from cell phones, headphones and watches to e-bikes and e-scooters.


Screenshot of the Forest  Fire CommissionSnow, hail, high heat and unusual tornadoes plagued the many parts of the world in May. India and Pakistan was affected  by record high heat. In Brazil, the area around the capital Brasilia broke records with the coldest temperature ever measured in history.

Strong storms have swept through Germany and heat records have been broken in both Spain and France. On the east coast of the United States, authorities have warned of dangerously high temperatures.

After a two year break during the pandemic, the  CTIF Forest Fire Commission met in Athens on May 2 -5 for a focused review of the wildfire season 2021. During the wildfire season, the EU mobilized one of the largest ever European deployments of firefighters and aircrafts in history. In total, 24 firefighting aircrafts, 1301 firefighters and 277 vehicles from 22 countries around the world participated in the battle for tackling the wildfires in Greece. Representatives from France, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Croatia, Bulgaria and Greece participated in the meeting. 


Screenshot of the CTIF youth team in SwedenAt this time, registration for the 2022 Delegates Assembly and the Firefighters Olympic in Celje, Slovenia opened online. The Firefighters Olympics of CTIF is a spectacular event gathering 3500 contestants from over 30 countries, with over 10 000 fans in the audience!  Follow the link to read some of the highlights from our history which spans over the better part of six decades.

The 2022 Firefighters Olympics in Slovenia would be a special event in several ways: Not only were the youth games and the adult games mixed this year - also because of the pandemic it had  been three full years since the last youth games were held in Switzerland in 2019. 

Youth and adults around Europe were frantically preparing for the Firefighters Olympics in Celje, and CTIF´s past president Tore Eriksson made a special cover story from a full weekend of training with the youth team in Laholm, Sweden.


Screenshot of Manfred Sommerer taking over the Airport CommissionThe CTIF Commission for Rescue and Fire Fighting at Airports held a hybrid meeting in Hamburg May 17 - 19, with both physical and virtual attendance.  Manfred Sommerer took over as chair of the commision from Veli-Matti Sääskilahti, Finland, who remains a member, and also remains a member of the governing Commission Board. 

Manfred Sommerer is from Austria and is a lecturer at the Lower Austrian Fire Brigade School, a member of the Radiation Protection Unit of lower Austria Lower Austria, and Chief Examiner of the Austrian technical assistance/rescue. 

On June 1st,  at least five people died and several more were reported missing after another train derailment in Germany. During a difficult and complicated rescue operation, rescue workers searched for victims on the crashed train. Between seven and fourteen people were still missing on Saturday, the local police told Der Spiegel. According to the police, 44 people were also injured in the accident.


Screenshot of heat waves and floodsAn unusually severe fire season starts in Europe - extreme heat in India and Pakistan

By mid June, Forest fire season had started with full force in Southern Europe. 500 firefighters were already struggling to contain several forest fires in Spain, and thousands were being evacuated from their homes throughout the country. Greece already had their forest fire season start in early June, when a forest fire started near Athens during a heatwave that brought humidity levels down to 30%. Italy was already experiencing almost 40 degrees Celsius / 104 F, and many other countries in the south were struggling with unusually high temperatures for the season. Considering we were only in the beginning summer, many now feared what was to come. 

In Bangladesh and India, millions of people have been evacuated due to heavy monsoon rain and flooding. It had been raining for weeks and the rivers were starting to overflow. Mid June, there was a heatwave in Pakistan with 51 degrees C / 124 F recorded  in the city of Jacobabad on June 14. 


Screenshot of the Interschutz visitIn the third week of June, the CTIF Executive Committee had a productive week networking with many new and old friends from around the world at the Interschutz Fair in Hannover - the world´s largest Fire & Rescue exhibition. 

CTIF president  Milan Dubravac and General Secretary Roman Sykora got a chance to have a meeting with a very important member, the leader of the CTIF Fire Statistics Center, Dr. Peter Wagner  (in the middle of the photo to the left) who is currently  leading the work of the working group this year from Berlin. The Executive Committee had a chance to rekindle our strong bond with CTIF Germany,  by meeting with the president of the German Firefighting Association Karl Heinz Banse, the President from Niedersachsen Mr Stephan Weil, and the Minister of Interior from Niedersachsen Mr.Boris Pistorius. 

Thursday, there was also a nice meeting and discussion with two french members of the CTIF history Commission. Our General Secretary Roman Sykora also had a meeting with US Fire Administrator from FEMA DHS, Ms. Lori Moore-Merrell. 


Large HazMat accident ends the Second quarter of 2022

The second quarter of 2022 ended with the world news reporting on  a massive chlorine leak in Jordan - 13 people died and over 250 were injured when a sea container was dropped while being offloaded from a ship resulting in a massive liquid chlorine leak. 200 people were reportedly treated in hospital for lung injuries resulting from inhaling chlorine vapours. The leak occurred when a tank filled with 25 tonnes of chlorine gas fell while being transported, officials said.


Screenshot of the chlorine leak in Jordan