Crazy about firefighting

Crazy about firefighting

Holger fortsch does not make much fuss about himself. He is not a man of rough words, for him other pays. The 27-year-old has been a member of the fire department for 15 years, and it has defined his life ever since. Group leader, respirator wearer, youth leader in the michelau fire department – holger fortsch leaves nothing out: "after that, i'll probably do my platoon leader, but apart from that, i've had all the training you can have as a firefighter." He invests a lot of time in this. Out of curiosity, at the beginning of the year he wrote down how many hours he spends with the fire department. "But I let it go again in february", he says and laughs.

Fortsch can stand a day without firefighting, but he prefers to be with it. On vacation, he worries that he could miss a mission of his fire brigade. "But then you're just not there", says holger fortsch. But it takes a few days for this idea to get the upper hand.

Much to do for the youth

It all started quite harmlessly. As a child, he was fascinated by fire engines, the way they sped past him with sirens blaring, blue lights flashing and diesel engines roaring. He joined the neuensee fire department "even though no one in my family was in the fire department", says holger fortsch. "It was a small fire department with only one car, so I joined the fire department in michelau when I was 16." Since then, he has been living his life to the full: as a youth leader, he trains the next generation of firefighters and automatically sits on the board of directors in this role. A lot of things come together: once a year there is a 24-hour drill. Fortsch also has to prepare for the performance march in which the michelau youth fire department is participating this year.

For holger fortsch it is a change from work. He is not concerned with a sense of duty. He likes to do this: "when I'm here and I'm doing something with the young people, I forget about all the other stuff around me." With them, he can do some nonsense without having to think about everyday problems.
But his job as youth leader is by no means everything that defines fortsch's life as a firefighter. "We exercise two to three times a month." In addition there are the actual uses. So far this year there have been 66. "This year we have already had all the missions that one can have as a fire department." From rough fires to floods to an operation at a death in michelau.

Who pays for the broken shoes?

One operation that will remain in his memory was the fire at the metob company in march. On the one hand, because it was a special experience for him to work together with a works fire department that had come all the way from frankfurt. "It was impressive for us to see how relaxed they were about the whole thing", tells the 27-year-old. On the other hand, because he was left with a sour taste; the spilled chemicals destroyed his shoes as well as those of the other firefighters. The problem was that he had bought some of his own equipment, including his shoes. "I do a lot of work, so I want to be better protected, which is why I have my own boots and pants, for example, says holger fortsch. The shoes were ruined, and he wanted to get the money back from the municipality of michelau. "But the community did not want to replace them." In the meantime, he and the others have received the money, but the sting still sits deep with fortsch. Out of defiance, he even thought for a moment about quitting the fire department.
He quickly rejected the idea.

The new pair of shoes is now in front of his bed, as well as a pair of firefighter pants. To make sure things go quickly when he's called out on a call at night, he explains. For him completely normal. For others, not so much: "my family says I'm crazy. No one understands why i'm so crazy about firefighting, but i just like it."

What he likes less, apart from the theoretical training, are the reactions when he blocks off roads as a firefighter. "When we block off the street for the kindergarten's lantern parade, drivers come and insult us." Thanks is generally the exception. At first he is annoyed, but not for long; then he wants to go back to the fire engines, whose sirens and diesel engines still inspire him today. His girlfriend doesn't always like that, because he spends more time at the fire station than at home. Luckily for holger fortsch, she is a member of the michelau fire department herself – so at least they will see each other there. "It's fun, otherwise I wouldn't do it", he emphasizes. "I once read a saying on facebook: firefighting is not a hobby, it's a way of life." Holger fortsch was sign this.


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