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German firefighter rides along with Marble Falls crew

Dominic Tannert

German firefighter Dominic Tannert got a glimpse of American firefighting in Marble Falls on May 6-7. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

What started as a Texas vacation for German firefighter Dominic Tannert turned into a “tour of duty.” The Ratingen resident joined Marble Falls Fire Rescue on a two-day ride-along May 6-7.

“I’ve been experiencing what their daily living is like,” he told on the first day of his 48-hour stint with the local crew. “It’s been good to see.”

Tannert came across Marble Falls by accident after visiting Dallas, Fort Davis, and Terlingua.

“Literally, I was just checking places on Google Maps for places I could visit, and I saw the Longhorn Caverns (in Burnet), which looked interesting to visit,” he said. “Marble Falls was close by, so I decided to stay here for a couple of days.”

After finalizing his travel plans, Tannert reached out to Marble Falls Fire Chief Tommy Crane about possibly riding along for a couple of days.

“I sent him an email, and he told me to come by,” Tannert said.

The Marble Falls first responders wasted no time making sure the German firefighter was up to the task with a physical examination. Afterward, Tannert joined a crew on several service calls, including medical emergencies.

How did those compare to German firefighting operations?

“The calls are different, for sure,” Tannert said. “We don’t run medical calls as much because we have dedicated rescue services for that. We also have lots of automatic fire alarms, which seems to be less frequent here.”

The crew also made a pit stop at Colt Elementary School to check campus equipment and meet the students. 

That visit was another big contrast, Tannert said.

“There’s a difference in the connection (between) the fire service and the community,” he said. “It’s stuff that we wouldn’t do in Germany.”

Tannert plans to share his findings with his hometown department, Feuerwehr Ratingen, in hopes of improving its footprint in the west Germany city.

“I think it keeps the community closer together,” he said. “I think we should do that more often.”

Tannert isn’t done with Texas. He’s traveling to Austin at the end of his two-day stay with Marble Falls Fire Rescue.