fire brigade

Paris Fire Brigade

This article is about the Paris Fire Brigade. For the British Society for Plant Pathology see BSPP.

The Paris Fire Brigade (French Brigade des Sapeurs-Pompiers de Paris, BSPP), is a French Army unit which serves as the fire 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, 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

  1. Fire Suppression
  2. Emergency 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:


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.

Selection and instruction

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.

Corporate Organisation

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:

  • 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

each contains eight Fire companies and an Emergency medical service

  • Instructions group
  • Services group

First fire group (Premier groupement d'incendie)

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)

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)

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:

Instructions Group (Groupement d'instruction)

The Instructions 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

Controlled by Headquarters


The BSPP has about 1 200 interventions per day. In 2001:

  • 1st fire group: 163 081 interventions amongst which 9 606 fires;
  • 2nd fire group: 136 078 interventions amongst which 5 583 fires;
  • 3rd fire group: 150 376 interventions amongst which 5 234 incendies.

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:

  • per day: 19 interventions per 100 000 inhabitants;
  • per year: 7 300 interventions per 100 000 inhab., amongst which 331 fires per 100 000 inhab.

See also

External links

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