Mercer Stendal Employees with a Dual Mission

When Lisa Budde drives to work in Arneburg, she does so with two roles in mind – as do about 100 other Mercer employees. The young woman not only works for the company as a plant operator. She is also a member of the Mercer Stendal Fire Department, on the spot and ready to go in the event of a fire. Lisa says, “It’s an interest on one hand, but also passion.” For her, it’s clear: “Our job depends on the existence of the internal fire department.” 

Like Lisa, everyone who signs an employment contract at Mercer Stendal knows pulp can only be produced here if the company has a functioning fire department. The law requires it. And so, this requires as many men and women as possible to declare their willingness to become part of the fire department. 

Mike Wieczorek acts as deputy head of the fire department at Mercer Stendal. For him, firefighting is a way of life. “Since I was a child, I’ve put my heart and soul into it,” Mike shares.

Jessica Höhne, who works in the Mercer Stendal laboratory, is also an active member of the force. “We work very well together as a team,” she says. Referring to the fire in the summer of 2022, an event like that showed how good and, above all, important it is to think outside the box when it comes to training, and to practice and train across the department. 

Jessica Höhne, geared up as a member of the Mercer Stendal Fire Department


Those who work at Mercer Stendal and decide to join the fire department are often known to have ties to the volunteer fire department in their hometown. However, this is not a requirement to become active in the fire department at the mill. The company offers training from the ground up for all who are interested. 

In coordination with the local volunteer fire departments, training and continuing education for the mill’s fire department have been organized for many years. In this way, men and women from other units get to know the company (and vice versa) and learn more about the special features of the plant and the use of special knowledge. 

We at Mercer Stendal have experienced how fast, how ready for action and, above all, how competent volunteer fire departments are. Of the nearly 800 emergency personnel who worked six days in a row to extinguish and bring the fire at our plant in July 2022 under control, the majority were volunteers who sacrificed their valuable free time to do so. Pulling across all fire departments and associations, the teams geared up and prevented the fire from spreading and flaring up once more. It was ultimately they, working day and night, who ensured the worst was prevented.

Every village, every town and, of course, every employer would do well to support the men and women in their local fire brigades to the highest degree. For it is they who sacrifice many hours of their free time in order to act quickly in an emergency. From major events to minor calls, they practice and train. On weekends, day or night, in extreme heat or even severe cold, they learn and they help. They don’t look at the clock. They don’t look at the thermometer. They just do it – for everyone’s protection.

It’s reassuring to know that these volunteers will be there if, despite all precautions, something does happen. To remain equipped and ready, the fire departments depend on new members, who are desperately needed to maintain operational readiness. Become a member of one of our county fire departments. The people in need will thank you.