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“All the rescue centers in Côte-d’Or need it”

More resources. This is what the firefighters of France are calling for. This is the start of their national congress in Nancy this Wednesday. This summer’s fires showed that the means to fight forest fires were insufficient. We are this morning with the director of SDIS 21 Régis Deza.

The situation has calmed down on the fire front, that’s it, and that’s good. Are all the Côte-d’Or firefighters who left to reinforce right and left this summer back?

Yes, the 262 firefighters who have left fourteen times over almost all of France have returned and were recently received by the president of the departmental council to be thanked for their investment. They really all lived a hard experience on the physical level or on the moral level, but all with a necessity, a feeling of having helped and of having served. And everyone learned. Everyone has learned that taking risks is hard. It was something quite disproportionate compared to climate change and that it could happen at the gates of our home. So the experience gained elsewhere will certainly help us to try to prepare to be even more efficient.

What lessons have you learned from it? Will there be new equipment, a new organization, how will it work?

We have already modeled what was happening in the south of France for years. That is to say that in the context of forest fires, the treatment of the incipient fire and the fact of putting a lot of means from the start to be able to stop the fire as part of its spread, was implemented all summer and mainly the week of August 15 when we had these famous periods when we were at very severe risk and between ten and twelve fire starts during the day. So that, we already had it in us and we had already treated it. We also dealt with the problem of drought and the availability of drinking water. We realized that if we banged on the water towers to put out the fire, people would no longer be able to drink drinking water. So we also have to think about where we’re going to get the water.

You obviously have professional firefighters. You also work with volunteer firefighters. Do you still have needs there right now, in Côte d’Or?

Rurality or extreme rurality means that there are fewer volunteer firefighters during the day in rural areas. Because the jobs aren’t there, because things are further away, and people are traveling so they can get to work, all of this is sorely lacking in nearly a third of the volunteer fire department rescue centers. available during the day, so to be able to have people available today, you have to recruit in specific age groups. You have to train, you have to find the specialties. And then people, above all, have to want to come and help and support their fellow citizens.

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Where do you need volunteers specifically?

Currently, all rescue centers need it because we have a problem, a logic of numbers. I told you earlier, but we also have people retiring, people who have professional mobility, who have to leave. These renewal rates need to be addressed and after even more so in rural areas.