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Discover the french Civil Protection!

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post-44661-0-57877200-1352397298_thumb.jHello fellow EMTs, paramedics, nurses, doctors and readers of these pages!

As promised here is an introduction to the french Civil Protection! It is quite detailed but I'll try to put in pictures and make it easy to read!

NB: I do not own the pics, everything was taken from public areas, I do not intend to make any profit with those pics, and bring them to you only with the purpose of information.

- I - History

The today's civil protection comes from the evolution, fusion and division of services created during WW2:

The "Défense passive" was an army-like organisation of civilians in charge of helping and protection the population. This idea of "soldiers within the borders" dedicated to firefighting, medical emergencies, technic interventions (gaz, water...) or transport coordination still exist today.

After the war, a large unit of "Civil Protection" was created by the Paris Police Department:

These plates and helmets were worn by the EMTs of the Police Department

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In 1990, this service was terminated, leaving all the employees and volunteer EMTs without resources...

In the 80's tough, a private service called "Protection Civile", also working with volunteers was created in Paris.

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The volunteers that were thrown away by the Police Department scattered in different services but many of them joined the dynamic Protection Civile de Paris, which quickly expanded after that.

An ambulance on the early 90's:

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Today the Civil Protection of Paris is the 2nd larger volunteer EMS after the Red Cross.

We count 450 active and trained volunteers and dozens of vehicles (see below). Our annual activity is that of a medium sized full-time EMS.

- II - Logo and name

Our logo is the international symbol of activities related to protecting, rescuing and helping the civil populations: orange disc with dark blue triangle.

The white cross represents the "medical aspect" of our service and is also a trace of an other service that merged with us years ago.

Our current logo

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Our name comes from the "Service interdépartementale de Protection Civile" We kept only the last two words.

- III - Uniforms

The former uniforms (used until 2005) were all blue with only an orange stripe:

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As it could be confused with fire department or Police, it was changed. We still keep the blue and oranges as main colors, with some white in smaller quantity.

During mission, the full uniform must be worn, with black boots, short or tied hair. Men shall have be well shaved or if they want to have a beard, it must be neat and well-cut. Jewelries are forbidden, save for the mandatory watch.

We can't mix pieces of uniform with causal clothes, and cannot wear the uniform outside our missions.

When we're not on mission or guard duty, we still have a chance to be called on massive accidents, as support of the public services. It is not mandatory to attend to event as it wasn't scheduled. It is possible for EMT to respond, only wearing a part of the uniform (raincoat, HV jacket...).

This is the Civil Protection uniform, with raincoat on:

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This was taken during an official ceremony. We do not wear the white gloves, white boot covers on call. The helmets are normally used only in case of danger.

This is the polo shirt version:

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During a training session.

The latest innovation for our service: the high visibility "softshell". It keeps you warm, protects from the wind and light rain. It is very supple and comfortable to use :)

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We use the F2 Extreme helmet designed (like the famous F1) by the former french company CGF-Gallet, now MSA.

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For our nautical rescue crews, we have a custom, high visibility rescue suit:

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- IV - Vehicles

This is the mobile HQ, its cute little name is VeCTra (Vehicle of Command and TRAnsmissions). It's equipped with cell-phone lines, land-lines, a generator, radio channels and emitters, a high mast, computers and Internet servers and a giant touch-screen.

It is operated by a chief (in charge of the whole coordination), a typing operator and 2 or 3 regulators.

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That's all for today, I'll post the rest later on, enjoy!

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Posted · Report post

That is a pretty nice writeup.

Thanks for the info.

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- IV - Vehicles

- IV- 1 - Mobile HQ

This is the mobile HQ, its cute little name is VeCTra (Vehicle of Command and TRAnsmissions). It's equipped with cell-phone lines, land-lines, a generator, radio channels and emitters, a high mast, computers and Internet servers and a giant touch-screen.

It is operated by a chief (in charge of the whole coordination), a typing operator and 2 or 3 regulators.

click to enlarge

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It was designed and released on the field some 6 years ago, it was then the most advanced mobile HQ of Paris. The fire dept. and EMS are slowly catching up, but the VeCTra 75 remains one of the better equipped HQ in France. We are quite proud of it as it show our professionalism and our ability to design our own tools. Many upgrades are planned for the next years.

You have to note that in France, lights aren't a priority. Until very recently, most vehicles had only 2 beacons on the roof. Now LEDs are popping on emergency vehicles more and more, which is a good thing.

- IV - 2 - Ambulances

The ambulances are the spine of our fleet. They're used for "911 call" (here it's 18 for fire dept and 15 for EMS) of course, but also as stationary rescue posts and transportation ambulances.

These are what is called in Europe Type-B, which means basic life support units.

We have 15 ambulances in Paris. Most of them are regular utility truck converted into ambulances, but we have 3 "square cells". The main issue in France is we can't really by foreign ambulances. Our regulations are quite special and don't recognize all european crash-tests for instance, which is a pain in the a** really.

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Thank you for reading!

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Great information, man! What kind of medications and treatments are administered by EMTs in the Protection Civile? What about by your physicians? Do you operate under "protocols" or clinical guidelines?

What is the education for EMTs and other healthcare providers like in France? Are you paid? Volunteer? If paid, how's the pay like? What is the career ladder like? You said there are no paramedics in France, so if an EMT wants to increase their clinical abilities, do they have to become nurses or physicians or what?

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Hey, thanks, It's always my pleasure!

What kind of medications and treatments are administered by EMTs in the Protection Civile?

About medicines, we have a protocols. EMTs in France aren't supposed to deliver anything the patient hasn't already with him/her. Yet is Paris we have a protocol made by our referent doctor. It sets up a list of medicine we can give, for what reason and in what case it should (or shouldn't) be delivered. Those are basic, easily accessible, medicines used to prevent or stop benin yet very uncomfortable/painful situations for the patient. We can provide painkiller, anti-nausea, anti-diarrhea, asthma treatment, all sorts of creams... We give them only in the course of our intervention, to relieve the person. The painkillers are also used to determine the seriousness of the pain: for instance if they doesn't relieve the person at all.

What about by your physicians?

Well, their only limit is their personal and medical liability :D

Do you operate under "protocols" or clinical guidelines?

When it's about the medicines, yes. Otherwise, let's say we are taught a certain number of techniques, when they apply and how precisely they should be realized.

Then it's just applying the right technique to the right situation. We are not trained in term of protocols but more supple "conducts to follow", which we adapt to the situation. It's a bit different, but in the end it's the same.

What is the education for EMTs and other healthcare providers like in France? Are you paid? Volunteer?

The EMTs have a basic theoretical training which is some 70 hours long. There is then a longer training on the field. To become team foreman of ambulance chief, you can add some 100 more hours of theoretical training, and even longer (months) on field. But beside some more clinical knowledge and organization skills, it won't make you something new.

The profesional ambulance transporters, who do transport all day but who can also do some 911 response, have a longer training, maybe 4 or 5 month, but it's mostly legal training and administrative stuff regarding how to deal with patients. They don't have any more medical skills than we do.

We are 99% volunteer. We have employees who work full-time, organizing big operations, managing the structures, but they're in the offices.

On the field, we have some paid operations, like the Paris Motor Show which lasts 2 months and requires EMTs every days! All the EMTs working there during the week are paid, when the ones working on the week-end are considered volunteers. But in most of all the other operations, we are 100 volunteers.

Please note that the person working as employees are the same who volunteer the rest of the years.

The Red Cross has permanently paid crews (EMTs, doctors and nurses), but they're a minority compared to the volunteers.

If paid, how's the pay like?

Something like 10€/hour

What is the career ladder like?

In volunteer EMT? There is no career to expect. You can increases your responsibilities but it's always volunteering. We all have an other job, or we're following studies! For instance, I want to become an emergency paediatrician :D

In our crews we have IT consultants, lawyers, commercial executives, graphic designers, students... and also policemen, firefighters, nurses and/or medical students. Oh and we have a swordmaster too lol.

You can become the equivalent of a Chief-Sergent and have the opportunity to operate modern equipments, coordinate huge operations, but it's all volunteering. You have to have a "main" life going on separately, you see?

You said there are no paramedics in France, so if an EMT wants to increase their clinical abilities, do they have to become nurses or physicians or what?

YES

You cannot, from EMT-basic, keep on, train, and become able to do more medical things. You'll have to become a nurse or get into med school.

I hope I was clear enough in my answers :)

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- IV - Cars

Our cars are used to transport EMTs and equipments to the rescue posts we set up on big events. They can be used to bring EMTs on scene, but that's quite rare. They do not respond to 911 calls.

They role is mainly logistic, even if of course they can be used in case of emergency.

We also have an "operational executive", who can respond 24/7 if there is a problem with a team, a rescue operation or if there is a very heavy situation. His role is to arrive on the scene and relieve the ambulance chief by dealing with annoying or troublesome third parties, or taking over the whole situation.

This car transport a "mobile rescue post":

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Other examples:

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- IV - 4 - Bikes

A few years ago we've acquired bikes. We use them when we have to cover big/moving even likes races.

The bike carries 2 EMTs with basic equipments. They're sent out on scenes which doesn't "a priori" require a larger crew. The role of the bike crew is to assess the patient. If the injury, or more generally the problem is minor and doesn't need any treatment or evacuation, then the receive appropriate advice and is left. If the problem needs transportation to the rescue post, an ambulance is called.

This is called to "clear the doubt", as many calls we receive aren't really justified.

The bikes are very fast, can go through a crowd easily, follow a fast-moving event on long distance, and remain close to the people.

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- IV - 5 Boats

Our structure has the state authorization to perform water rescue, mainly in the river Seine that crosses Paris from west to east.

Beside the national training of water-rescuer and the boat driving licence, the Police Department of Paris requires additional trainings. It is important for us to remain at the same level than the Police River Rescue unit of the Fire Brigade Water Rescue unit, both present on the Seine.

Our boat are used when an event occurs on the Seine shores, or anytime there is a risk of a person falling in the water.

There are about 20 of those boats ready to be used.

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Today one of our crew met a fellow EMT of the Mexican Red Cross in Paris, near the Eiffel tower!

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I used to work at a place that used motorcycles as response vehicles for special events and occasionally for general responses. They saw mixed success for a variety of reasons.

They did draw an awful lot of attention. From a public relations standpoint they were an excellent talking point in part because motorcycles just aren't that widely used here in the States.

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Before those bikes were bought we had a real problem for this kind of situation where it's too far to walk and yes not easily accessible with an ambulance. This is the case during big public events in Paris, such as a marathon.

The bikes allow us to quickly have a pair on EMTs on scene and determine if the pt: needs immediate care, can go to the rescue post alone or doesn't need further assistance.

The bikes are also very very good for our image. The public but also the organizer likes those stuff, mainly because they see them pass around many times and they can see we're really here, close to the event (which is their #1 concern).

We use them like 5 or 6 times a year, which is not much. We could use them for the EMS but so far they refused, even if they're experimenting their own bikes.

EMS bikes in France go cycle: idea => trial => official use => end of bikes => idea => trial => official use => end of bikes...

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