All the Costarmoricans rescued, at most, in twenty minutes: this was the commitment, since 2007, of the Departmental Fire and Rescue Service of Côtes-d’Armor (Sdis 22) and its main funder, the departmental council. Only, within a few days, this objective will have lived. In mid-March, the board of directors of Sdis should indeed ratify its departmental plan for risk analysis and coverage (Sdacr). A mandatory document of more than 120 pages in which this deadline no longer appears.
Why such a choice ? Neither the direction of the Costa Rican firefighters, nor the officials of the right-wing majority in the Department, wish to speak before the meeting of the board of directors of Sdis 22, next month. But others agreed to respond, such as Chief Warrant Officer Sébastien Guégan, elected CGT of the personnel: “This deadline could be difficult to reach on certain road networks, but it is tenable if we put the means to it. And for us, it was a real objective ”, regrets the firefighter.
“The abandonment of the deadline is a way of taking legal cover to avoid recourse from the population in the event of an overrun. But it is a bad signal sent “, analyzes the Communist departmental councilor Cinderella Bernard, who sits on the board of directors of Sdis 22. The elected representative of Bégard recalls that” other departments have chosen to maintain the twenty minutes , while specifying that the objective must be reached in 80% of interventions. This also makes it possible to guard against legal actions ”.
According to data from Sdis 22, around Bourbriac, Saint-Jacut-de-la-Mer, Plestin-les-Grèves or Tréguier, the 20-minute goal is only reached, at best, in 60% of cases. Another important data: between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., only 25% of the department’s fire and rescue centers can send six firefighters to intervene, i.e. the optimal number of people to intervene in a fire.
2,300 volunteer firefighters, 282 professionals
For Sébastien Guégan, the abandonment of the twenty minutes is all the more damaging as it will in no way solve one of the difficulties faced by the Costa Rican firefighters: the mobilization of volunteers during the day. Extremely in the majority in Côtes-d’Armor – where they are almost ten times more numerous than professionals: 2,300 against 282 – these volunteers alone manage 50 of the 59 rescue centers in Côtes-d’Armor.
“It is in no way, for us, to oppose volunteers and professionals. We are complementary. The problem is that private employers are finding it increasingly difficult to release volunteer firefighters during the day. And it is also becoming difficult for some public employers, ”considers Chief Warrant Officer Guégan. A difficulty that does not elude the strategic document of Sdis 22 which speaks of “low availability of volunteer firefighters during the day”.
A budget frozen for four years
For Cinderella Bernard, the only way to respond to this problem is to hire professionals: “Historically, our department has always relied heavily on volunteers. It is one of our strengths and even a source of pride. But, they are less available during the day and we have trouble recruiting them ”.
The elected Communist Bégard also calls on the departmental majority to increase a budget frozen at € 39 million for four years. “The average cost per inhabitant of the departmental fire and rescue service is € 68 for the Côtes-d’Armor. Against 79 € for other departments of the same stratum, ”recalls Cinderella Bernard. “We cannot continue to work in degraded mode,” adds Sébastien Guégan.
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