Plenty of Dutch courage at Falck Risk
Published: 31 March, 2009
This month’s top instructor is Maurice Quist of Rotterdam-based training school Falck Risc. Quist, 45, completed his basic training in a small town in Holland called Krimpen aan de Lek. As well as being an instructor for Falck Risc he is a volunteer firefighter in Krimpen aan de Lek.
What is your specialist/favourite training subject(s)?
I like everything about firefighting so it is hard to pick one specialism. However, I do have one favourite thing and that is helping out the public. Doing this, I can shine. I still think that this is the best thing about the firefighting profession.
Describe your approach to training firefighters.
My approach to training firefighters is simple but effective. I treat the students in the way that I would want to be treated, with respect and understanding. We are all human and we all make mistakes, it is as simple as that. The most important thing is that they learn in a positive way.
What is the most common mistake/misunderstanding made by pupils in one of your courses?
The basic firefighting course in Holland is tough and demanding -physically and mentally. When the recruits start their course they all think, “this is going to be a piece of cake, a walk in the park”. After a few days, they see that this attitude is wrong.
What has been your proudest moment as an instructor?
I have a lot of proud moments. When you want to teach someone something it is always difficult to see if they have understood what you want them to do or what you want them to achieve.
When I see that this is working and that the student is enjoying what he is doing, then that is a proud moment for me, over and over again.
What is your favourite piece of equipment, and why?
Readiness to provide help in the widest sense of the word. Why? Because with this readiness to help, you can rescue people from perilous and life-threatening situations. This demands a great deal from you on both a physical and a spiritual level, and an ability to improvise is also essential. Cutting the most expensive cars into pieces does give you a certain kick, though.
Strangest/most embarrassing situation (at work/on a course).
I have never had a strange or embarrassing moment during my time as a firefighter. No, I’m lying. There was a large tree, which was threatening to collapse, in the back garden of a house. As firefighters, we were called to saw it up safely. I offered to do this job, but during the sawing process, things went wrong. Instead of the tree falling between the two houses and into the garden, it landed on the roof of the house. This was an embarrassing moment for me. The damage was fortunately limited, however.