International Volunteer Commission strengthens cohesion and outreach of volunteer fire departments: Review of the 8th meeting in Slovenia
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The 8th meeting of the Volunteer Firefighters Commission took place in October 2022 in Slovenia. After two years in which only digital work was possible, the participants were glad to be able to meet again in presence. 24 participants from 15 countries attended the meeting, which was offered hybrid.
After an update on the corona status in the countries, the commission looked at the structure and set-up of the volunteer fire department in each country. In order to better highlight the commonalities and identify the best variants among the differences, the commission set itself the task of getting to know better the systems of the participating countries.
To this end, the participants reported on the organizational and legal structures in their countries. In order to create better comparability, an attempt will be made in the future to present the results in an overview. As an interim result, the commission noted that even though the systems in the individual countries differ greatly, the common goal of all firefighters is to help others. The commission will continue to monitor this topic.
In addition, the commission dealt with the topic of public relations. Andreas Rieger from the Austrian Federal Fire Brigade Association gave an interesting presentation on this topic. In the discussion that followed, all participants agreed that good public relations work is an important task, especially for volunteer structures. This applies both to member recruitment and member motivation as well as to the preparation of discussions with authorities and organizations. The aim of the commission is to strengthen the public relations work for volunteer fire departments on an international level by providing a platform for an exchange of experts. In the future, the work of the commission is to be reported on in a suitable manner that is effective for the public.