A petition launched by firefighters for the recognition of a risky profession

Bas-Rhin: Firefighters have launched a petition for a better recognition of the job at risk – Gilles Varela

  • A petition calling for the recognition of the profession of firefighters as a risky profession, put on line on December 25 by firefighters in the Bas-Rhin, has nearly 50,000 supporters to date.
  • They wanted to "revive the debate, which is old but seems to have stopped in 2004". Date on which the "dangerous nature" of the trade was recognized, without being qualified as a risk trade.
  • "The staff take risks on the fire interventions, face the insalubrity permanently during rescue interventions to people, are attacked regularly. "

A week ago, two firefighters in intervention died in the explosion of a bakery in Paris. What dramatically sheds light on the dangerousness of this profession. And that allowed involuntarily to
a petition asking for the recognition of the job of firefighters as a risky job, posted on December 25, to double the number of signatories. Launched by firefighters from Bas-Rhin, it has nearly 50,000 supporters to date.

"The job of firefighters is not recognized as a risky and unsanitary job. However, during all the various insurance subscriptions an overcompensation for risky business is applied, explains the text of the petition. The personnel take risks on the fire interventions, are faced with insalubrity permanently during rescue interventions to people, are attacked regularly. "It is requested that this profession can enjoy the same qualification as the police or prison supervisors," the instigators continue.

"Relaunch the debate"

"Everyone thinks we are qualified as such. So, we wanted to throw a pavement in the pond, "says one of the firefighters behind this approach *. They wanted to "revive the debate, which is old but seems to have stopped in 2004". Date on which the "dangerous nature" of the trade was recognized, without being qualified as a risk trade.

"In talking, we wondered why we did not talk about it anymore. It was following an "ambulance guard": during our intervention, we had been insulted. My colleague then submitted the idea of ​​launching a petition, "says the 32-year-old firefighter.

Exposed to diseases

A letter signed by unions FO SIS 67 and SPP-PATS 67 was also sent to the elected officials to relay the request for recognition. "It's a claim that is old, over 20 years old, and never successful. This is an anomaly that we have never been able to understand. The grassroots unions are trying to shake up the local elected officials so that they take it to the national level. We have seen our national representatives this week in congress, they must take it to the Ministry of the Interior, "said Cédric Hatzenberger, Secretary General FO SIS 67, recalling that there have been 104 deaths in France in ten years.

A study conducted on behalf of the National Pension Fund of Local Government Agents also reveals that firefighters are exposed to increased risks of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, but also of cancer, because of the toxic fumes they breathe.

The number of assaults on the rise

According to figures from the Ministry of the Interior, the number of assaults reported by firefighters in intervention has increased by 23% in 2017. While this violence remains relatively rare (2,813 firefighters assaulted on 4.7 million interventions) , their rise continues. In total, between 2008 and 2017, the number of assaults of firefighters declared more than tripled (+213%), adds the National Observatory of delinquency and penal responses of the Ministry.

"But if you complain systematically, it's more than that. Because it's every day, especially when "ambulance guards" ", laments the petitioner. If the people at the origin of the aggressions can be under the influence of alcohol or in a second state according to the help, the remarks can be violent: "We are told" You are only idiots "," will die ", "I will kill you". And there is spitting too … " Also "throwing stones, cobblestones, iron bars, mortars, firecrackers and other craft, ambush," in their letter complete the union representatives.

Despite this, the thirty-year-old firefighter wants to continue to practice this profession "because it is a vocation .. But this context may be problematic for recruitment: there is a lack of volunteer firefighters, attracts fewer and fewer young people ".

* The firefighter wished to testify anonymously