The international firefighting world turned its gaze to the Congress Centrum Ulm on Friday evening. The winners of the international Conrad Dietrich Magirus Award were announced at the formal award ceremony. The Rio de Janeiro Fire Department from Brazil burned with excitement: the team received first place and can take the coveted award home with them. The Absam Fire Department from Austria was delighted to receive second place, while third place went to the Lampedusa Fire Department in Italy. These three teams were selected from among fire departments all over the world for their acts of courage and honored at the gala event in front of an audience of 600 guests. In addition to Antonio Benedetti, CEO of Magirus GmbH, event guests included Tore Eriksson, President of the International Association of Fire and Rescue Service (CTIF), and surprise guest Captain Tony Tricarico from New York, who was on duty on 9/11. Tricario held a moving speech about the selfless and indispensable dedication of firefighters all over the world. “This award represents what we as firefighters live for on a daily basis: we want to help people and save lives. The Conrad Dietrich Magirus Award pays tribute to this dedication and raises public awareness. And if, the next time a street is blocked, a few more people think about how we’re doing our best rather than complaining about the inconvenience, then we’ve made a difference.”
Courage, Decisiveness, and Team Spirit
The accounts submitted impressively demonstrated the wide variety of tasks and dangers with which fire departments all over the world are confronted. These submissions recounted natural catastrophes such as devastating forest fires and a typhoon as well as enormous fires and exceptionally challenging rescue operations – all with the pressure of knowing that each moment could possibly be your last. “We have the utmost respect for what firefighters do, especially because we know from our many employees who are active in the field of firefighting that this job makes great demands,” says Antonio Benedetti. He says that’s why the company developed the Conrad Dietrich Magirus Award in the first place and he’s happy that it has become one of the most renowned awards in the firefighting industry.
Firefighting teams from many countries competed for the award this year. A jury of specialists selected the best from among all the submissions and then included them in a public online voting process at www.world-of-firefighters.com. The Rio de Janeiro Fire Department received the most votes. They’d mastered a call with courage in January that went well beyond the realms of an average mission. A truck had run into a footbridge over a high-traffic city freeway, causing it to collapse. The steel structure had buried several vehicles, one pedestrian had fallen into the river, and other vehicles had collided with the bridge. “It was actually three rescue missions in one,” explained Lieutenant-Colonel Demètrio Saldanha of the Rio de Janeiro Fire Department at the award ceremony. “We had to act fast, work together and use a variety of techniques. We’re honored to be able to take the Conrad Dietrich Magirus Award home with us to Brazil.”
Visit to New York
The exceptional dedication of the winners was not only honored with a statue, but also with an extraordinary prize: the team of ten will fly to New York City to visit the New York Fire Department (FDNY), likely the most famous in the world – the flights, accommodation, and an exciting program are all included. There the Brazilian team will have the opportunity to gain insight into the work their American colleagues do. They’ll visit a variety of fire departments, see the world’s most cutting-edge fireboat and experience firsthand the training American firefighters undergo at The Rock training academy.
Firefighter Tony Tricarico emphasized that not only the first-place winners should feel honored on this evening, but all firefighters: “It goes without saying that winning first place is always a great feeling. But each and every firefighter here has demonstrated extraordinary courage, bravery, and decisiveness. Being here today makes all of you a winner,” said Tricarico to the firefighters who had gathered from all over the world.