May 31st 2023

Students' project: Rescue - Protect - Extinguish - Salvage

Evaluation of the train-the-trainer course for members of the volunteer fire departments in the field of forest firefighting in Tyrol

Three students of the Nonprofit-, Social- and Healthcare Management program at MCI | The Entrepreneurial School® are collaborating with the Tyrolean Fire Brigade Association during their practical semester to evaluate the train-the-trainer education system for ground firefighting. Their goal is to identify issues and enhance the long-term effectiveness of the training system for volunteers at the Tyrolean fire departments.

Climate change is increasingly noticeable in Tyrol in rising temperatures, prolonged dry periods, and alterations in the amount and type of precipitation. These changing conditions promote the development of forest fires, which are becoming more frequent and more intense. This escalation poses a growing global problem for both people and nature. Consequently, volunteer fire departments in Tyrol also must adapt to these changes.

Altogether there are 337 volunteer fire departments in Tyrol with about 33,000 members. The Fire Brigade School Telfs is responsible for the education of the members. They prepare a high number of firefighters, both man and women, for operations across various fields.

The ground firefighting course, along with the flight helper course, forms a crucial part of the training for forest firefighting. Utilizing the train-the-trainer system, those who complete the training later become trainers themselves, disseminating their knowledge throughout the districts in Tyrol. This strategy is intended to guarantee that all members of the firefighting departments across Tyrol acquire the necessary skills to combat forest fires effectively.

A significant advantage of the train-the-trainer system is its ability to provide education and training to many people in a resource-efficient manner. However, one disadvantage is that without consistent evaluation the quality of training cannot be guaranteed. This is a recognized problem within the ground firefighting train-the-trainer course.

For this reason, bachelor's students of the Nonprofit, Social-, and Healthcare Management program at MCI initiated a project in collaboration with the Tyrolean Fire Brigade School. The project's primary focus is on evaluating the effectiveness of the train-the-trainer system of the ground firefighting course within Tyrol.

The findings of this research will be presented at the end of June at both MCI and the Fire Brigade School Telfs, providing a recommended course of action for the nationwide implementation of the train-the-trainer ground firefighting course. Through this project, both the students and the Fire Brigade School of Tyrol aim to enhance the effectiveness of firefighter training in Tyrol concerning forest firefighting and respond proactively to changing climatic conditions.