Enrico Gottschalk, Fire Inspector at the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Fire Department, is 2020’s IMCOM-Europe Fire Inspector of the Year.
When asked why he won, he simply answers that he had no idea why. The local national Fire Protection Inspector joined the USAG Wiesbaden Directorate of Emergency ServicesFire Department as a firefighter in 2003.
Karin Morrell, Assistant Fire Chief Prevention, describes him as very reliable and patient. “He never gets stressed out,” she said. “He stays calm and that has a very positive effect on the rest of the team.”
Morrell also explained that she submitted Gottschalk for the Inspector of the Year 2020 Award because she values how he always goes above and beyond. Individuals nominated for this award have to demonstrate resourcefulness and the ability to overcome challenges within each of their functional areas. “It really helps that he understands new concepts so quickly, which helps him apply changes in the regulations to existing conditions,” said Morrell.
In his first few years at the fire department, Gottschalk approached his supervisors requesting to acquire an additional certification as Fire Protection Design Specialist, which is very unique, because it is normally not a requirement for a fire Inspector and has to be taken on the German side.
“This certification allows me to assist in the construction planning phase ensuring all fire prevention regulations are met,” explained Gottschalk. In his job, he has to ensure these fire protection requirements are met, so that in an emergency everybody leaves the building safely. “We ensure that both, German and American regulations are met,” he explained. “We check every building at least once a year; schools and childcare facilities every month.”
Gottschalk describes working as a fire inspector for the U.S. Army as very interesting, but difficult. “Every day is different. You never get bored,” he said. “The regulations change very often and we have to apply both the Army fire prevention regulations as well as the German regulations, while keeping the most cost effective solution in mind. That can be very difficult.”
Although his job includes many hours in the office, he is happy where he is at. “As a firefighter, I can only help people after something bad has already happened,” he said. “As a Fire Protection Inspector I can help them before something happens and prevent emergencies.”