My commitment to society & the environment: How 4 RCG employees in Slovenia put a stop to fire.

19. 04. 2023

Taking responsibility on the job and beyond: An insight into the voluntary activities of four colleagues who contribute to the success of Rail Cargo Group as dispatchers, wagon masters or loco drivers and protect people and nature in the volunteer fire brigade.

Our blog series “My commitment to society & the environment” tells stories of RCG staff who help preserve our environment and contribute to society in their spare time.

Jan Lenart, Blaž Sila, Uroš Rožac and Blaž Cuznar not only have the same employer with RCG, the four Slovenians also perform a service to society at the volunteer fire brigade. Here they talk about where they get the motivation for their literally dicey work and what has shaped them.

Jan Lenart: "The children are our future."

Name: Jan Lenart
Works at RCG as: Dispatcher
Why I am with the volunteer fire department: "I have been with the fire department in Kresnice for 20 years now, recently I was appointed commander. Why do I help? It is very simple. You only have to put yourself in a difficult situation and you realize how important it is to have outside support. That's why a simple "thank you" is enough for me to stand up for others and put myself in danger. Often it is only the look of a person whom we could help. No words or rewards are needed there."

A mission that left its mark on me: "Last year, the biggest forest fire in the history of Slovenia raged in the Karst region, near the Italian border. And then there was a fire in a Slovenian factory and one in the house of one of our firefighting colleagues. Things like that really get to you."

Name: Blaž Sila
Works at RCG as: Part of the department of the deputy head of traction
Why I am in the Volunteer Fire Department: "It is the responsibility to community and nature that makes me feel a part of it. My job allows me to give back and that feels good. The nice thing is that I just don't get paid for my volunteer work. It shows that there are other incentives and it gives our activity something special, almost sublime. This feeling has been with me since I joined the fire department in 1999 in Povir, a village in the middle of the Karst region, near the Italian border."

Blaž Sila: "What counts for us is team spirit and that we can rely on each other."

A mission that left its mark on me: "Ten years ago, a huge forest fire broke out near my village, threatening to engulf and destroy the entire village. We managed to save the village, but a large part of the forest was irrevocably lost. A sad sight that we are still reminded of. Fortunately, there were no human victims, but one does feel sorry for the poor animals."

Uroš Rožac: "We will overcome the fire - it must be so!"

Name: Uroš Rožac
Works at RCG as: Wagon inspector
Why I am in the volunteer fire department: "For me, it is the gratitude of the locals that motivates me. I come from the town of Rakitove in Istria and I have been part of the volunteer fire department since 2011, now as commander. Istria is always a victim of forest fires, especially in the summer. On the Divača-Koper railroad line, too, there can be incidents, such as when a brake shoe causes great heat and melted parts ignite dry foliage next to the tracks. By now, we are prepared for such situations, thanks to three all-terrain vehicles, we can reach areas that are difficult to access."

A mission that left its mark on me: "Last year, we battled a 150-acre forest fire in February. It was the middle of the night, minus 20 degrees, and we had water freezing in the pipes. That's brutal, of course. We had no choice and had to extinguish large areas by hand. Together with colleagues from other fire departments, we somehow made it until morning. We proved what team spirit, will and perseverance can do."

Name: Blaž Cuznar
Works at RCG as: Loco driver
Why I am in the volunteer fire department: "I wanted to join the fire department in Rateče, a village in the western north of Slovenia, since I was a little boy.

Blaž Cuznar: "The firefighting gene is part of our family."

Blaž Cuznar: "Exhausted but happy"

I knew the stories of my grandfather, my father and my uncle, and I wanted to follow in their footsteps. In 1997, I was only seven years old when the time finally came. Being a railroad worker and a volunteer firefighter just runs in our family. The feeling of being able to help is very special, especially when we get an emergency call. Your heart beats really fast then and you're full of adrenaline."

A mission that left its mark on me: "Once there was a fire in an upstairs church apartment where an old lady was staying with her grandson. I called the emergency dispatch center for help, but they were very far away. So I picked up the phone again and called my father, who came within a very short time with a fire truck. We immediately started to put out the fire. When reinforcements arrived, the woman and her grandson were rescued and brought to safety."