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German Firefighters visit Newark to celebrate 40 years of twinning

Posted on 15 October 2023

Firefighters from Emmendingen, a town in Germany, visited Newark Fire Station as a celebration to recognise 40 years of twinning.

Newark is twinned with three towns, including Emmendingen in 1983, which was established by Newark Town Council. They formed the Newark Twinning Association, a non-political, self-funding initiative, to encourage and facilitate goodwill, understanding and friendship between organisations and individuals in twinned towns.

As part of the 40th anniversary celebrations, a group of firefighters visited Newark for a long weekend, which included a day at the fire station with red watch.

During the visit they had a tour of the fire station, fire engines and the Specialist Rescue Unit, as well as having the opportunity to ask any questions they may have about how a UK fire service runs and operates. In return, Nottinghamshire firefighters were able to ask questions about what it is like to be a firefighter in Germany.

Emmendingen Fire Station is operated by around 180 firefighters on a voluntary basis – the exact same principle as our On-Call Firefighters, but they don’t get paid for their service. Their fire station has 11 response vehicles, and they’re trained in special rescue, which includes rescuing from heights, water, and animal rescue, the same as our firefighters from Newark.

Group of firefighters from UK and Germany outside Newark Fire Station

The leader of the visiting group, Alex Zahn, said: “We had a wonderful time at Newark Fire Station. We had good discussions about the differences between our work and the hope to have a regular exchange. We were happy to meet everyone, and we look forward to hopefully welcoming our new friends next year in Emmendingen.” 

Watch Manager Keil Fraser, from Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, said:

It was an absolute pleasure to welcome the firefighters onto the station, it was a great opportunity to meet others in the job and understand the similarities and differences between services and culture.

It was eye-opening to learn about how Emmendingen Fire Station run, especially on their voluntary basis. They explained that here in the UK we have more advanced technology when it comes to helping us in our role as a firefighter, which shocked us, as this equipment is what we use to save lives.

We want to thank Newark’s Twinning Association for making this visit happen, and of course, thank you to the group of firefighters who made the trip. We want to wish them all the best for the future.

Rita Crowe, Chairman of the Twinning Association, said: “I was delighted when I was contacted to help arrange this visit as it had been delayed from 2020 due to the Coronavirus. 

"A link had been established between the two stations during the early days of Twinning, which sadly had ceased, and it's only through the links with groups such as this that help the successful link between the two towns survive."