Paris Fire Brigade

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Brigade des sapeurs-pompiers de Paris
Active 1793–present
Country  France
Branch French Army
Type Firemen
Size ~ 8,500
Motto(s) "Sauver ou périr" (Save or Perish)
Colors Red & black
Fire engine of the Brigade des sapeurs-pompiers de Paris parading in 2003

The Paris Fire Brigade (French: Brigade des sapeurs-pompiers de Paris, BSPP), is a French Army unit which serves as the primary fire and rescue service for Paris and certain sites of national strategic importance.

The brigade's main area of responsibility is the City of Paris and the surrounding départements of Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, and Hauts-de-Seine. It also serves the Centre Spatial Guyanais in Kourou, the Military Rocket Test Centre in Biscarosse, and the gas plant of Lacq-Artix.

The brigade is a unit of the French Army's Engineering Arm (l'arme du génie) and the firefighters are therefore sappers (sapeurs, thus sapeurs-pompiers). With 8,550 firemen, it is the largest fire brigade in Europe and the third largest urban fire service in the world, after the Tokyo Fire Department and New York City Fire Department. The brigade is placed at the disposal of the Paris Prefecture of Police in an arrangement similar to that of the French Gendarmerie. Its motto is "Save or Perish" (French "Sauver ou périr").

Another military force responsible for firefighting in France is the Marseille Naval Fire Battalion (BMPM). The remainder of France has civilian fire and rescue services (services départementaux d'incendie et de secours). See: Fire service in France


As any French firefighter, their missions are

  1. Fire Suppression
  2. Emergency Basic Life Support ambulance
  3. Utility Safety – Gas Leaks et al.
  4. Personal Assistance – Victims services, SAR lost persons
  5. Motor vehicle collision response
  6. Protection of beings
  7. Patrol, Reconnaissance and Research
  8. Animal rescue
  9. Pollution control and HAZMAT Response
  10. Alarm response

They defend Paris and its "little crown" (close suburbs), but also specific sites:

Special missions for Bastille Day[edit]

Traditionally,[1] the Paris Fire Brigade parades twice during the Bastille Day military parade: once on foot, and a second time with its vehicles. During the parade members are armed with the FAMAS, the famous French bullpup-style assault rifle, reminding them of their membership in the armed forces. Different fire stations of the Paris Fire Brigade organize each July 13 or 14th an evening dance party within the walls of the barracks, called Bal des pompiers[2] (firemen's ball in English).


The Fire Brigade's headquarters in Paris

Founded in 1793 as the Corps des gardes-pompes de la ville de Paris and following the 23-hour Austrian Embassy Fire in 1810 became a military organisation by imperial decree by Emperor Napoléon. On 18 September 1811, it became the Bataillon de sapeurs-pompiers de Paris and was expanded to the Régiment de sapeurs-pompiers de Paris in 1867. On 1 March 1967 became the Brigade des sapeurs-pompiers de Paris.

Selection and training[edit]

The operational personnel (hommes du rang i.e. privates) are usually engaged for five years. They must have French nationality, be between 18 and 25 years old, have a clean criminal record and have at least a vocational training CAP certificate. The selection is three days long, with sports tests, psychomotor tests, medical examination, etc.

Training takes place in the Instruction Grouping (Groupement d'instruction, GI), at the fort of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges. The first period lasts two months, with the first aid and first responder training, and basic military instruction (including shooting).

The sapper then undertakes practical training of four months in an operational fire company (compagnie d'incendie); he takes part in personal assistance and utility safety operations.

The sapper then returns to the Instruction Grouping for two further months for his fire training. He is then permanently attached to a fire company.


Firemen of the Paris brigade, Bastille Day 2008 military parade on the Champs-Élysées, Paris.

The BSPP consists of 8,550 personnel with 81 stations and facilities who conduct 1200 operations daily.

Corporate Organisation[edit]

General Bernard Périco, as of 2006 commanding officer of the Paris Fire Brigade (BSPP)

The brigade is commanded by a Brigade General as part of the French Army's engineering arm. The brigade commander directly controls the Information and Public Relations Bureau, and who is assisted a Colonel-Adjutant, a General Council called a Cabinet and a Chief of Staff who controls the following Bureaus:

  • General Studies Bureau
  • Financial Programs and Budget Bureau

and three Assistant Chiefs of Staff:

  • Assistant Chief for Employment
    • Operations Bureau
    • Formation and Instruction Bureau
    • Prevention Bureau
  • Assistant Chief for Logistics
    • Techniques Service
    • Infrastructure Service
    • Administrative Service
    • Telecommunications and Information Service
  • Assistant Chief for Human Resources
    • Human resources Bureau
    • Personnel Welfare Bureau
  • Chief Doctor

Field Organisation[edit]

each contains eight Fire companies and an Emergency medical service

  • Training group
  • Services group

First fire group (Premier groupement d'incendie)[edit]

Mobile HQ of Paris Fire Brigade in action.

The First fire group of the Paris Fire Brigade covers Northeast Paris and Seine-Saint-Denis and is Headquartered at:

  • 12 rue Carpeaux 75018 Paris tel:

and consist of the following units:

  • Fire Group Staff
  • Facilities (Maintenance) Group

and 8 Fire Companies (CEI)

Second fire group (Deuxième groupement d'incendie)[edit]

Iveco fire apparatus in Paris.

The Second Fire Group of the Paris Fire Brigade covers Southeast Paris and Val-de-Marne and is Headquartered at:

  • 16 avenue Boutroux 75013 Paris Tel:

and consist of the following:

  • Fire Group Staff
  • Facilities (Maintenance) Group

and 8 Fire Companies (CEI)

Third fire group (Troisième groupement d'incendie)[edit]

Fire support truck near Champerret HQ.

The Third Fire Group of the Paris Fire Brigade covers Western Paris and Hauts-de-Seine and is Headquartered at:

  • 14 rue Henry Regnault 92400 Courbevoie. Telephone:

and consists of the following units:

  • Fire Group Staff
  • Atelier Group

and 8 Fire Companies:

Training Group (Groupement d'instruction)[edit]

Peugeot 308 serial SPVL921 (Chief officer's car).

The Training Group of the Paris Fire Brigade provides education and training to all Paris firefighters. It consists of the following:

  • Group Staff
  • Center for Formation and Cadres
  • Center for the Instruction of Recruits
    • Basic Training Company
    • Auto School, driving and repairs
  • Support Company

Special Services[edit]

Renault Mascott light truck of the Scuba unit of Paris firemen.

Controlled by Headquarters

Frequency of Operations[edit]

The BSPP performs about 1200 interventions per day. During 2001:

  • 1st fire group: 163,081 interventions, including 9,606 fires
  • 2nd fire group: 136,078 interventions, including 5,583 fires
  • 3rd fire group: 150,376 interventions, including 5,234 fires

There are 6.16 million inhabitants in the BSPP zone (1999). This represents:

  • per day: 19 interventions per 100,000 inhabitants
  • per year: 7,300 interventions, including 331 fires, per 100,000 inhabitants

See also[edit]


External links[edit]