Fire service in France

French civilian firemen.
French fire engine.
French Fire brigade Citroën Berlingo in Les Sables-dOlonne

The fire service in France is known as Sapeurs-pompiers, except in Marseille, where naval "sailor-firefighters", marins-pompiers, provide fire and rescue services.

There are two categories:

There are approximately 250,584 fire service personnel in France operating 15,000 emergency vehicles out of 10,238 emergency centres.

Pompier (firefighter) etymologically comes from the concept of pumping (water) and refers to the manual pumps that were originally used. Sapeur means "sapper" and refers to the first official firefighting unit created by Napoleon I which was part of the military engineering arm.


As of 1 January 2012, there were 248 300 sapeurs-pompiers in France:[1]

Women comprised 12% of the civil sapeurs-pompiers.

The service de santé and of effectives.

The administrative personnel, technicians and specialists numbered 10,900.

The jeunes sapeurs-pompiers (Junior fighters) and cadets numbered 27,800.

There are also few (328) civil volunteer firefighters (sapeurs-pompiers volontaires civils). The civil volunteers status was created in 2000 when the conscription was abolished. It is a national service, i.e. full-time job for 6 months to 2 years, but with a reduced pay.


Headquarters are located in:

Sous-direction des Sapeur-Pompiers
87-95 quai du docteur Dervanx
92600 Asnieres-Sur-Seine

Local organization is based in the various Departmental Fire and Rescue Services (Services Departmentaux d'Incendie et de Secours (SDIS)).


Paris and Marseille comprise 14% of the national total.

See also

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