Fire drill at Engelmann

Beep, beep, beep … when the beeping of several smoke alarms booms through the completely smoke-filled Engelmann upper floor, we know on the one hand that our smoke detectors are working perfectly and on the other that a fire drill is in progress.

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On Saturday afternoon, April 27, 2024, the alarm bell rang at the Baiertal fire department. The emergency call was received at around 4:30 p.m. and a few minutes later 18 firefighters were standing in front of the Engelmann company building in several emergency vehicles. While an incident commander gained an overview of the situation and walked around the building, his colleagues prepared themselves. They rolled out hoses, put on breathing apparatus and prepared axes, lamps and the like. Dense smoke billowed from the stairwell to the upper floor. People were also still in the rooms at this time. They were potentially unconscious. The firefighters had no time to lose, because human lives were at stake here.

Two emergency vehicles came to Engelmann.

Fortunately, this scenario is not an everyday occurrence for the Baiertal fire department, but it does happen. Reason enough to practise and prepare for it. Because the operation on Saturday was a rehearsal. The Baiertal fire department was looking for a suitable company building for its exercise and Jürgen Arnold, Head of Operating Technology at Engelmann, was immediately “fired up” when the request was received at the beginning of 2024. He organized the exercise for Engelmann and ensured that everything ran smoothly within the company.

No real smoke billowed out of the upper floor, but the fog from three large fog machines. In addition, two fellow firefighters placed a dummy in the window of a meeting room before the operation. She simulated a person jumping out of the window. The people on the upper floor, two people from the youth fire department, were all in good health and were supposed to be waiting to be rescued.

18 firefighters were deployed.

While Jürgen Arnold started at around 12 noon, two firefighters prepared the rest between 2:30 and 4:30 pm. Ralf Biebeler from Engelmann Marketing was on site with a camera and accompanied the spectacle. The firefighters in the operations center didn’t know what was going to happen. They only knew that a so-called object exercise was taking place. The fire department trains twice a year at different companies. When they arrived after the emergency call, it was important that someone quickly had an overview of the situation in order to coordinate everything. Then some of the firefighters set up a safety net at the back of the building, others went to the upper floor and gradually other colleagues joined them. Everyone had clear tasks. The aim was to find the source of the fire, to see how many people were waiting to be rescued and how the fire could be brought under control.

The operation lasted no longer than an hour, after which the situation was under control. The operations managers were very satisfied. The firefighters too. This was also evident at the subsequent barbecue in the Engelmann courtyard, which was organized by Jürgen Arnold. Until shortly before 10 p.m., our company premises were full of firefighters.

For the exercise, three fog machines fogged the Engelmann upper floor.