When dealing with the forest fire at the blast site in Grunewald, not only the Berlin professional fire brigade make an important contribution, but also those of the volunteer fire brigade – with an expense allowance of only 3.50 euros per hour.
But that could change soon. The Senate Interior Administration, led by Senator Iris Spranger (SPD), is planning to increase the amount, a spokeswoman told the Tagesspiegel. “An increase in the expense allowance under the regulation on the determination of lump sums is intended,” said the spokeswoman.
The ordinance is currently being examined and voted on. No information was given on how much more the volunteers could get.
The German fire brigade union (DFeuG) Berlin-Brandenburg is demanding an increase in the minimum wage because the volunteer fire brigade is used regularly and as a matter of course. The decisive factor is how often and regularly you use the volunteer fire brigade and “whether that is now even a planning factor that helps to keep the professional fire brigade from growing,” said a union spokesman.
With greater financial appreciation, it might also be easier to recruit new committed people. “We know that the potential for young volunteers in the fire brigade is rather low,” said the spokesman.
The major fire in the Grunewald also triggered a debate about the equipment of the fire brigade. The forest expert of the Green Group, Julia Schneider, told the Tagesspiegel that the purchase of a fire-fighting helicopter together with Brandenburg “should at least be examined.”
Her parliamentary colleague Vasili Franco became clearer: “In the future, having your own fire-fighting helicopter could be a valuable ace up your sleeve in the event of forest fires,” he told the “Bild” newspaper.
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The interior administration does not think much of it: In Berlin, the focus of firefighting is on buildings. The country cannot provide any resources for exceptional situations that are rarely used or not used at all.
The fire brigade union also sees no need. However, Berlin could consider purchasing a water container that could be strapped under a helicopter – and if necessary, borrow the required cargo helicopter on the open market.