A look back on an unusual, but also very special year

22 December 2020

This year can rightly be considered very unusual. Yet many positive things have also come into being. We therefore look back at this year's FireWare highlights.

Online knowledge center

You would almost forget that there was also a life before COVID-19 in 2020. In the first month of this year, twenty fire instructors from across the Netherlands gathered at FireWare for a masterclass, with the purpose of brainstorming ideas about how to teach fire behaviour. It turned out that it was a major challenge to communicate this course material to students

The findings of this day have been compiled in a free whitepaper. This knowledge document also gave the go-ahead for setting up our knowledge platform for staging. On this platform we share the latest trends, our expertise and practical cases. In addition to the white papers, the platform is now well stocked with blog articles, the findings of learning skills remotely and our free Safety Library. More about those topics later in this news item.

The FireWare Studio and Learning Skills Remotely

From one day to the next, the professional competence of emergency responders had to be viewed in a different way. FireWare joined in this challenge and went on a special journey. Our former brainstorming room was adapted in such a way that we could facilitate remote digital sessions, in a professionally set up studio.

The first steps of the journey were really like Bambi on the ice: getting better through trial and error. However, we embraced imperfection and thus gave ourselves some space to learn. Moreover, we were not alone in this journey. Initiatives throughout our country followed and various emergency services organizations joined forces. This is how the platform Learning Skills Remotely was created. On this platform, we still share the experiences of various organizations on organizing webinars, streams, E-learnings and ELOs for the emergency services sector. But we also write about the social aspect, for example. What is going well, but above all, what is not going well and what insights could others learn from?

The studio also opened doors to create digital content, meet online and brainstorm online. In this way, quite a number of collaborations have flourished in a special time. We also organized an interactive knowledge event ourselves. In collaboration with our international partners we organized the free webinar: “Creating Realistic Training Environments”.

A dark page

We received the sad news in the morning of April 20 that Henny Aartsen is no longer with us. After a short illness he deceased yesterday night at the age of 73 years. For us, the death of Henny Aartsen is not only the loss of a highly valued and beloved colleague, but also the loss of a beautiful person. Read the in Memoriam.

A sign of hope during the corona crisis

In the Easter weekend of 2020, we were allowed to help create an Easter fire on the Saint Peter Basilica on the market in Oirschot, the Netherlands. Because of the corona crisis, the Oldulphus parish could not hold its religious services and celebrations. Deacon Wilfred van Nunen let his creativity run wild and came up with a nice alternative. Everyone could enjoy the event without violating the current restrictions. Even the national and international media picked up on the sensational event. A beautiful Easter message of the parish has spread like wildfire!

Safety Library available for free

In 2020 we have experienced that safety teachers these special days are even more eager to be of significance to emergency responders. The Safety Library can be a very useful tool, which is why we are happy to make the library freely available. It gives instructors access to more than 2500 files related to the safety industry, to use in their own presentation program. With the library, they can create interactive fire and evacuation scenarios using buildings, escape routes and fire animations. Or provide a Table Top exercise as an educational addition to the current course. Users are able to place images and animations in the floor plans and simulate incidents in various scenarios. Moreover, they can create the most diverse case training courses: the sky really is the limit here!

Staging courses

FireWare was already approached in 2019 to play a role in creating an accelerated training concept for the Team Alkmaar Region, a part of the North-Holland North Safety Region. All the fire stations had properly-working and high-quality exercise materials available, but many of the firefighters had not been fully instructed in how to use these materials. And that's exactly where we fit in! We were able to complete the process for the no fewer than 17 fire stations in 2020.

New and enhanced collaborations

In 2020 we were once again able to contribute to a number of great collaborations. FireWare may call itself a civilian partner of the Defense Ministry in the Netherlands from this year. Knowledge is being bundled to make CBRNE simulations as realistic as possible.

We can also look back on a large number of innovative emergency response projects that we were able to realize before, during and through the corona crisis. For example, we joined forces again with Intertraining for the realization of The Control Room. In this escape room, students take on the role of a dispatcher. We also helped AC Opleidingen with the further development of their hybrid escape rooms for this training center: The Disaster and The Horticulture. For training center RBOC Fort Markenbinnen we realized Corporal Tim: a unique interactive training tool to test the knowledge of students in the field of burns fully automated. Trigion put its new mobile training unit into use for dynamic, interactive emergency response training on location and with the CURA GROUP we are working hard on a unique experience for the student: the Emergency Response Pop-up location.

We have also been able to contribute to the development of information vehicles and solutions for the Fire Brigade, which fully embrace the 1.5 meter society. For example, the Gelderland-Midden Safety and Health Region is now equipped with The Fire Safety Game, a contemporary information container of which the game can also be spread over a large area. In addition, we are currently converting a CoPI container of the Gelderland-South Safety Region into a new information vehicle. “The House of the van de Werf Family” will be a real walk-through experience, in which participants experience what it is like to flee a fire!

But that’s not all for this year! The Central and West Brabant Safety Region will soon be the proud owner of one of the most appealing training centres in the country: Safety Village. For this training facility, FireWare contributes to the experiential design and the integration of the learning and teaching goals.

An overview of new training material

In the past year, we also spent much time working on creating new training materials. We are most proud of the new Apollo LED Training Fire Extinguishers. Thanks to these new training fire extinguishers, students can learn to deal with an incipient fire in any environment. The extinguishing spray of the Apollo LED is simulated using a strong LED, allowing students to properly practice the safe use of fire extinguishers in every environment. The Apollo LED training fire extinguishers are also a part of the new Fire Extinguishing Simulation Kit. This set contains everything to conduct a small simulated fire extinguishing exercise!

Practical information on Christmas

To spend time with our families, our head office will be closed from December 24 to January 3. For urgent matters, you can still reach out to our support service via +31(0)88 252 6000. Starting on January 4, we will be fully ready to serve you again!

On behalf of everyone within FireWare, happy holidays and a healthy and inspiring 2021!

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