Annual Report 2022: Fire brigade on course for growth: deployment volume and personnel growth reach record levels in 2022

May 16, 2023

In 2022, the Hamburg Fire Brigade again impressively proved that it can be relied on day and night. In addition to a moving anniversary year, in which the Hamburg Fire Brigade was able to celebrate its 150th anniversary, 403,149 alarms had to be dealt with for the emergency forces of the professional fire brigade and the volunteer fire brigades. The two hurricanes Ylenia and Zeynep at the beginning of the year alone caused well over 2,300 call-outs for the volunteer fire brigades and the professional fire brigade. But it was not only the technical assistance or the 26 major fires, but also the countless smaller operations, especially in the rescue service, which are handled to a large extent unnoticed by the public and where it is often a matter of life and death, that placed great demands on the Hamburg Fire Brigade. Hamburg’s Senator of the Interior, Andy Grote, the acting head of the Hamburg Fire Brigade, Fire Director Jörg Sauermann, and the State Division Chief of the Volunteer Fire Brigade, Harald Burghart, presented the 2022 annual balance sheet of the Hamburg Fire Brigade at the State Press Conference in the City Hall today, Tuesday.

In 2022, a total of 316,275 emergency rescue, fire protection and technical hazard prevention missions were handled by the Hamburg Fire Brigade and its partners in the rescue service. This corresponds to an increase of 12.8 % compared to the previous year (in 2021: 280,415). The number of rescue service operations has also increased significantly to a total of 278,261 (in 2021: 248,615). The Hamburg Fire Brigade handled the majority of these with 236,376 calls (in 2021: 211,845).

The number of fire calls also increased significantly. In total, the Hamburg Fire Department responded to 12,058 fires. This includes small fires, large fires, but also false alarms caused by fire alarm systems and private home smoke detectors. The number of calls for assistance and environmental protection also increased significantly by 4,669 to 25,956 in 2022 compared to 2021. This large increase is due in part to the hurricane conditions in February 2022.

The number of fire deaths remained constant compared to the previous year. 15 people died in fire incidents.

It becomes clear: Smoke alarms can save lives, but only if they work and are regularly tested. As soon as smoke alarms are put out of operation, taped or unscrewed, they lose their protective function.

The Hamburg professional fire brigade was able to record a further increase in personnel in 2022. In 2022, 3,081 members of the fire brigade, 9.2 % of them women, ensured safety in Hamburg. Since 2017, the fire brigade has grown by 468 forces, from 3,039 to 3,507 in total.

In 2022, the Hamburg Volunteer Fire Brigade with all 86 fire brigades (85 in the Hamburg city area, 1 fire brigade on Neuwerk) once again made an outstanding contribution with 13,004 alerts – and all of this on a voluntary basis! The volunteer fire brigade has thus been and continues to be a very reliable partner in successfully managing the operations of the Hamburg Fire Brigade.

2,652 members are currently active in the fire brigades. Against the national trend, the number of members in operational service is growing (2,648 in 2021). The proportion of women firefighters currently active in voluntary work rose from 15.5 % to 16.6 % last year. In the 66 youth fire brigades, which now exist in almost every district, 1,033 boys and girls are involved. In addition, there are another 178 children who are playfully introduced to the topics of fire brigades and fire protection in the 13 mini fire brigades – the most beautiful honorary office in the world.

2022 was not only a busy year for the Hamburg Fire Brigade, it was also a special year of celebration. It was marked by “150 years of the Hamburg Fire Brigade”; the professional fire brigade, which founded the modern fire protection system in Hamburg, went into service on 12 November 1872.

Thousands of people were able to take part in the celebrations at various events such as the Fire Brigade Day at Dockland or the vehicle parade with historical and current emergency vehicles. In addition, Hamburg’s First Mayor Dr Peter Tschentscher invited everyone to an emotional ceremony at Hamburg City Hall.

Senator of the Interior Andy Grote: “Our fire brigade continues to grow and in view of the high number of operations last year, we as a city can be justifiably proud and grateful to have one of the most modern and efficient fire brigades in Germany. With 316,275 call-outs, their professionalism, reliability and operational readiness for our safety was once again demonstrated. In order to further increase our performance, we are continuously investing in a sustainable increase in personnel. With major investments in infrastructure and vehicle procurement, we are further strengthening performance and positioning the fire brigade for the future.”

Hamburg’s Fire Chief, Fire Director Jörg Sauermann, emphasised: “In times of constant change, against the backdrop of climate change and a changing global danger situation, the Hamburg Fire Brigade must prepare itself for new challenges. To do this, we have to keep inspiring young people to become firefighters, and provide them with the best possible training and further qualifications. The technical and structural equipment of the professional fire brigade and the volunteer fire brigades must be suitably up to date in terms of technology and, above all, tactics. Only in this way will we be able to ensure the high level of safety for Hamburg’s citizens in the future. As it is our task, as we always fulfil it.”

Harald Burghart, Regional Director of the Volunteer Fire Brigades: “After a very stormy start to the year with a high volume of operations due to storm surge and inland flooding, a new normality was able to settle in at the Hamburg Volunteer Fire Brigade in 2022: We were finally able to experience first-hand again the great importance of community togetherness. We used the time to meet in person, to exchange ideas and to take action. Our emergency services in particular contribute to our city day after day in a way that cannot be taken for granted. They are a supporting pillar of our society – in the emergency service and beyond. This voluntary work, in turn, only works with the support of the families, friends and employers of our comrades. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved for a successful 2022.

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