The Brigade's main area of responsibility is the City of Paris and the surrounding départements of Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, Hauts-de-Seine. The other departments in the metropolitan area have their own fire brigades. The other areas are in Kourou, Biscarosse, and Lacq-Artix.
The brigade is a unit of the French Army's Engineering Arm (Génie) and the firefighters are therefore "sappers" (sapeurs, thus sapeurs-pompiers). With nearly 8,500 firemen, it is the largest fire brigade in Europe. The Brigade is placed at the disposal of the Paris Prefecture of Police in an arrangement similar to that of the French Gendarmerie.
The only other military force responsible for firefighting in France is the Marseilles Marine Fire Brigade. The remainder of France has civilian fire and rescue services (services départementaux d'incendie et de secours).
As any French firefighter, their missions are
They defend Paris and its "little crown" (close suburbs), but also specific sites:
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 the Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte. 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.
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 certificate (CAP). The selection is three days long, with sports tests, psychomotor tests, medical examination, etc.
The instruction is made in the Instruction group (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).
Then the sapper undertakes practical training of four months in a Fire company (compagnie d'incendie); he takes part in personal assistance and utility safety operations.
The sapper come back to the Instruction group for two months for his fire training. He is then attached to a Fire company.
The BSPP consists of 8,340 personnel who man 81 stations and facilities who conduct 1200 operations daily.
Commanded by a General, who 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:
and three Assistant Chiefs of Staff:
each contains eight Fire companies and an Emergency medical service
and consist of the following units:
and 8 Fire Companies (CEI)
and consist of the following:
and 8 Fire Companies (CEI)
and consists of the following units:
and 8 Fire Companies:
Note that Paris has more than 2 million inhabitants, and each departement has about 1,3 million inhabitants; there are altogether 6,16 million inhabitants in the BSPP zone (1999). This represents: