Prior to yesterday’s appointment, there had already been various coordination during day-to-day operations, because since December 2021, what belongs side by side has been growing together here. At that time, the German-French agreement was amended, which regulates mutual support in the rescue service and fire brigade operations.
So now a dozen or so representatives came over from the Haut-Rhin department, from the fire brigade (SIS 68) from Colmar and from the rescue service (SAMU 68) from Mulhouse. In the ILS rooms they were welcomed by representatives of the regional council, the ILS Lörrach, the DRF air rescue, the DRK state association Badisches Rotes Kreuz and the ILS Freiburg Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald. Topics of the day were non-police averting dangers in Germany and opportunities for mutual support. It quickly became apparent that personal exchange and understanding of each other’s working methods are essential for good cooperation.
The most important topic of conversation was the newly created possibility of handing over operations between control centers across the border.
There are already initial experiences from real operations. Once a rescue helicopter was requested for a transfer, once a French ambulance was used in Ihringen.
Since March, the control centers in Alsace and southern Baden (Freiburg/Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald and Lörrach) have been testing the transfer of operations several times a week. Thanks to new, bilingual handover forms, communication between the control centers is much faster. At yesterday’s meeting, further digitization steps were discussed and initiated. These documents and forms are the results of the working group in the Upper Rhine Conference. On the German side, they were developed with the help of several control centers, the DRK Landesverband Badisches Rotes Kreuz, the regional councils of Freiburg and Karlsruhe and the ILS Landau. From France, the specialist services of Departments 67 Bas-Rhin and 68 Haut-Rhin were involved.
So the good will is there, but so are the hurdles, because the rescue services in France and Germany are fundamentally different. In France there are two parallel service systems, some of which compete with each other. Operations in the control center are also different: the SAMU (Service d’Aide Médicale Urgente) only deals with medical issues and emergencies; he is manned in the control center by doctors who advise on the phone and decide on the necessity of an operation. In Baden-Württemberg, emergency doctors and rescue services are dispatched to patients according to a standardized catalog of indications; there are no doctors in the control centers.
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