Principal Fire Director

I AM: Headmaster and Fire Director

Dipl.-Ing. Markus Morgenstern
State Fire Service and Disaster Management School Saxony

After studying chemistry, Dipl.-Ing. Markus Morgenstern began his career as a chemical engineer and then completed a career training course in firefighting. He joined the Saxony State Fire Service and Disaster Management School in 2018 as head of the training department and has been head of the school since 2019.

Why did you choose your specialty? What attracted you to it?

Since my early childhood I have been interested in firefighting and in literature, audio books, films about earthquake disasters and the Titanic sinking. During my time in the youth fire brigade, I became more and more enthusiastic about books on chemistry, physics, mathematics in the fire brigade and determining the cause of fire. These books led me to chemistry literature quite early on. Experiments in youth were of course also included. The combination of scientific and technical issues and the organization of help for people is still a very motivating task for me today.

How did your career start look like?

After my apprenticeship as an industrial electronics engineer, studying chemistry and starting my career as a chemical engineer in paint development, I completed a fire-fighting career training course at the Institute of the Fire Brigade in Münster. After this training, I joined the German Armed Forces as a department head in the fire protection center. The tasks included the head of the information and communication department as well as regulations. During this time I was responsible, among other things, for refugee issues, the development of a cleaning concept for systems contaminated with fluorine-containing foam agents and the introduction of digital radio in the Bundeswehr fire brigade. In 2018 I switched to the Saxony State Fire Brigade and Disaster Management School as head of the training department and have been its headmaster since 2019, which I still enjoy to this day.

Did you know that you wanted to go into your current professional field? Or were there other stations that brought you there?

At the age of 10, I had a great desire to become a firefighter first and then a fire chief very early on. Despite my miserable school grades at the time, I asked myself the question: What do I have to do to become a fire chief? This question has accompanied me to my current position.

What are you doing today? What are your responsibilities as principal?

I am the Head of a state fire service and civil protection school and am therefore responsible for the training of managers in voluntary fire brigades, professional fire brigades, members of administrative staff and in civil protection units - in short: in civil protection. I see the most important task as optimally designing the processes in the state fire brigade and disaster control school and motivating and developing the team.

What knowledge and qualities should you have for your professional field?

You should have a good scientific education. Technical vocational training is not a must, but it makes it easier to work with practitioners on a day-to-day basis. You should be active on a voluntary basis in order to gain experience that will make it considerably easier for you to understand volunteering. It is also important that you like to see and feel like a team player.

Describe a typical working day. Are there unforeseen events that require your attention? How is it working with colleagues? Do you work in a team?

A typical working day looks like this: First, there is a quick check of the e-mails and mailbox, followed by a check of the upcoming daily and future appointments. Smaller and larger coordination talks often take place in-house. In addition, there are conceptual tasks such as organizational development (optimization of processes and constant development of cooperation). Everyday life is characterized by a high degree of flexibility, as I also take the time to answer ad hoc questions from employees and customers. In committee work at federal level, we develop the professional world. I am in close contact with the headmasters of the other federal states. There is also technical cooperation with the state fire brigade association, the district fire chiefs, the heads of the professional fire brigades in Saxony and the Ministry of the Interior.

To what extent does your day-to-day work differ from that during your studies? To what extent did your studies prepare you for your current job?

The degree in chemistry prepares you very well for a Management position, since organizational talent is required and promoted during your studies due to the daily abundance of courses and laboratory internships. The hardship of a chemistry student's everyday life is comparable to a demanding working life. The chemistry degree significantly strengthens analytical thinking skills and the ability to prioritize, which are very important foundations for targeted and rapid decisions. Another great advantage is to increase your personal frustration threshold. The main difference is the high flexibility in dealing with changing issues.
As part of today's teaching activity, I am used, among other things, in the transfer of knowledge in chemistry, physics and many others for the target groups of career candidates and volunteer firefighters.

What excites you about your work? Are there any special challenges?

I am enthusiastic about making important contributions to the security of the people in the Free State of Saxony and through committee work nationwide. I am enthusiastic about taking on responsibility for a good cause. But bearing responsibility also means taking the risk of making mistakes. The special challenge in my everyday life is the constant prioritization of tasks and at the same time maintaining cooperation in the team of the entire agency.

What are career opportunities in your field?

You can apply for career training as a fire trainee with a master's degree. The positions are advertised in the state administration, the district administration, by professional fire brigades or state fire brigade schools. As part of the training, after two years you will take an examination to become a fire assessor. Regulation VAP2.2-FEU regulates this in more detail. After that, the paths are open to you up to the state fire director, headmaster of a fire brigade school, district fire inspector, Head of a professional fire brigade, etc.

If someone wants to follow the same career path, what advice would you give them?

Volunteering for firefighters and civil protection is a great and rewarding cause because you can help people in need. Always stay curious on your way, be curious about all kinds of topics and motivate yourself with your goals. Realize that when times are tough, it's important to be emotionally connected to your goal. You should positively love your goals.

Note: For reasons of readability, gender-specific language forms are not used at the same time. All personal designations apply to all genders.

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last modified: 11.07.2024 14:59 H from N/A