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From theory to practice The perils of training to fight fire

A new and improved training centre should help firefighters cope with the extremes of their job. The unit in Andelfingen was renovated over five years at a cost of CHF21 million ($21.2 million). 

Originally built in 1972 as a training centre for civil defence workers and the air defence troops of the army, the facility needed updating to meet the growing and changing needs of Switzerland’s rescue services. 

In the newly renovated complex, representatives of fire services, civil defence, the police, paramedics and the army can practise reacting to a range of scenarios and gain first-hand experience in a variety of situations, from earthquakes to industrial fires. 

There are specially constructed buildings for learning to deal with smoke and darkness, as well as an 850-degree “flashover container”. Outdoors, firefighters can practise rescues with an aerial ladder. 

The facility is based in canton Zurich, and available for use by rescue services from the neighbouring cantons in northern Switzerland. 

A second training centre for earthquake rescue is located outside Geneva.

(Text by Jeannie Wurz/

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