German EMT, wife visit Muscatine; first trip to the United States – Voice Of Muscatine


(City of Muscatine/Facebook)

An Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and his wife visited Muscatine earlier this month, visiting with members of the Muscatine Fire Department, touring Eastern Iowa, and attending an EMT Conference.

Steffen and Cindy Behrendt made their first visit to the United States staying with Assistant Fire Chief Mike Hartman who met Steffen while visiting Muscatine’s Sister City in Germany (Ludwigslust). The Hartman’s hosted the couple and led them on tours of Muscatine and eastern Iowa.

The Behrendt’s joined Muscatine Fire officials at the Iowa Emergency Medical Association conference in West Des Moines where Steffen participated in the “Honoring Our Own” ceremony.

The visitors were also to a reception by Muscatine Sister Cities during their stay.

The couple live in Grabow, a town a little way away from Ludwigslust and located halfway between Hamburg and Berlin in northern Germany.

The work of an EMT in Germany is different from that of an EMT in the United States. The German Rescue Service (Rettungsdienst) is a public pre-hospital emergency medical service, including ambulance services, provided by German cities and counties. The service has two functions including emergency services and non-emergency services. Steffen’s official title is “Rettungssanitäter”, which basically means he runs an emergency ambulance responding to all calls regarding imminent danger to human life and health. Those who arrange and perform non-emergency transfers as part of the service called “Krankentransport”.

Hartman noted that the visit may increase exchanges with Muscatine’s Sister City of Ludwigslust. A small group of emergency responders from another Sister City, Ramallah, is also tentatively planning to visit Muscatine in March 2024.