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Interview with Dutch Fire Services

Our guests for this session are Ymko Attema and Leonie Wiersma, responsible for the
The Netherlands Fire Service. We asked them questions about HRM at
My name is Ymko Attema, I’m the team manager of the team knowledge centre of the fire brigade at Twente.
We are responsible for the fire investigation after action reviews and we participate in several innovation programs. My name is Leonie Wiersma, I work within the HR team and I am responsible for management development and organizational development.
We are at a special place in Twente. We call it the Twente safety campus. It’s a place where we train the first responders, where we educate children, elderly and safety and where we have a safety field lab, where we experiment with several new safety concepts and innovation projects.
Well, I think innovation is very important for the fire brigade, because our environment is changing, we have a high risk job so we have to look into new technologies, new possibilities, which make our work more safe or more effective. We have several innovation programs. We look into drone technology. Virtual reality is also an important development for training. And we have some innovation programs about safety tracking systems, clever GPS technology, which helps you to see where the fire fighters are in complex buildings.
I think a lot of HR initiatives that we do are also about creating a culture and atmosphere to give a certain ground to allow innovation to happen. It’s about creating an open atmosphere, it’s about creating safety to try new things and make mistakes.
Well, at fire fighting nothing goes as planned, so you have to be creative and our fire fighters are very creative in solving the problem. So, I think it’s a very important skill for innovative behaviour. So, I think when you talk about the fire fighters, about make their work more safe and more effective, they will put in energy to see if the new possibilities will work in practice.
When you talk about general and at people level, we look at situational awareness. So, we train our leaders to be more aware about the situation, how your people are, are they in good shape or are there some problems. And I think the focus is more on the human factors and situational awareness than on the procedures. So I think that’s a new development where we work hard on to implement that in our training program.

Our guests for this session are Ymko Attema and Leonie Wiersma, responsible for the The Netherlands Fire Service. We asked them questions about HRM at their organization.

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