I ls signed to rescue the greatest distress, the worst accidents… But the fire department, called on all the fronts of the emergency, are increasingly the victims of assaults or insults which will eventually weigh on their daily commitment.
last Saturday, in a district known as “sensitive” of Nîmes, an ambulance sent to a fire of scooter has been welcomed by throwing stones, cinder blocks and molotov cocktails which would, to 15 cm, able to ignite the interior with three firefighters on board. The same weekend, other attacks in fire fighters have been identified, including Nieuil (Charente) and Saint-Denis (paris region). At the annual national conference of the firemen, which takes place until Saturday in Anchorage, all the professionals confirm that the increase in these assaults each year.
In 2015 (latest official statistics), 1.939 firefighters reported having been victims of aggression, intervention, or 21% more than in 2014, and 80% more than in 2009.
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The phenomenon is still limited : even if the number of assaults has increased since that time, this amounted in 2015 to 4.4 firefighters assaulted for 10,000 interventions, with few serious injuries. “It’s part of our concern”, notes, however, Eric Faure, president of the national Federation of firefighters of France (FNSPF), recalling the agreements signed with the forces of order to intervene jointly in at-risk areas. The unions are more alarmist on the dangers incurred by the fire department.
The first type of aggression is not new : the ambush in the neighborhoods of the city or the suburbs ‘at risk’, aimed at firefighters called to a fire or scooter trash. “Except that 20 years ago they never did that in the paris region, today it is much more widespread, often groups of young people who want to protect their small traffic”, explains Patrice Beunard, president of the SNSPP-PATS-FO, the second union of the profession.
This is the second category of attacks, less publicized, that worries and queries the more the profession: the explosions of violence of people alcoholic, drugged or simply at the end of the roll, which “fart the shot” in the face of the firefighters came to the rescue. “This is the violence the most frequent, with cities such as the campaigns, the more unpredictable for firefighters often alone to manage it” in view of the desertification medical and the decline of public services, explained captain Christopher Reniaud, a doctoral student in sociology.
The risks are multiplied : “We’re seeing more people who take it to all the world, more weapons also,” said a fireman of the Bouches-du-Rhône. In the Face of attacks, number of firefighters appreciated the severity of the justice that condemns a regular at the prison farm. But they are no less marked. “It is the last deal of the human misery. In us attacking, they are attacking their own protectors,” said Mr. Reniaud, a fireman in the far East. “The problem is that the motivation to go in some neighborhoods decline. Me, I have a little boy, and I do not want to lose everything by getting a petanque ball on the head”, was a firefighter in the region of Perpignan.
Faced with this situation, more and more departmental services of fire and rescue services (SDIS) form their firefighters to prioritize their reactions (to protect or rescue first) and to recognize and manage the behavior aggressive, with notions of psychiatry. “It is a new skill that asks for firefighters, in addition to all the rest,” says the captain Reniaud.
Keep calm in the face of insults and other antisocial behaviour
In addition, for example, to keep their calm in the face of insults and other antisocial behaviour, even more prevalent, and that also appear to utilise, depending on the number of firefighters. Mahi Riyadh, 34 years, including 15 as a volunteer firefighter in the Eastern Pyrenees, is still not back to have seen, a few weeks ago, a motorist who he asked to depart to allow his ambulance to make him… the finger. “I was shocked !”. He doubled and went to accomplish his mission, without turning back.