Firefighters in the department of Oise are facing an increasingly insecure and hostile work environment. Faced with the resurgence of attacks on firefighters, the department is taking adequate measures to protect its frontline workers.
The respect for firefighters is on the decline, with more than 3000 firefighters being attacked each year in France. Oise is among the ten departments which have been hit the hardest and experience the most attacks.
First in France to adopt protection plan
Eric de Val Roger, president of the departmental fire and rescue service (Sdis) 60, explains that 68 firefighters were victims of 32 attacks in 2020 in the Oise. The seriousness of the matter is clear and it is of utmost importance to protect the firefighters.
To reach this goal, the departmental council is investing in protective equipment, including 152 bodycams, 238 stab-proof vests and 39 cameras, which will be installed in the rescue centers of the Oise by 2024. The investment plan costs 16 million euros, which will be used for the renovation of the 42 emergency centres in the department and the purchase of new equipment. The Sdis de l’Oise is the first fire department and rescue service in France to adopt such a protection plan.
Bodycams are implemented to protect firefighters
Luc Corack, general controller of the firefighters, explains that firefighters are currently facing a new phenomenon where people aim mortar fireworks at firefighters on duty. This creates a sense of insecurity in the profession and particularly discourages volunteer firefighters, something the president of Sdis Eric de Val Roger wants to avoid. He aims to strengthen the support for victims of assault and to provide training on urban violence.
Nadège Lefebvre, president of the department, specifies that 457 firefighters have been victims in the last five years: ‘‘this situation cannot go on any longer.’’ To ensure optimal protection, firefighters will be equipped with bodycams. This will allow them to film interventions as they happen and ensure they can provide evidence in the event of an assault. Since the end of 2020, L’Oise has purchased 12 ZEPCAM T2 + bodycams from bodycam provider and ZEPCAM partner TPL Systèmes which will be used in Meru and Creil. The plan is for 152 more to become available to Oise firefighters in 2022.