The Fire and Emergency Service
The Fire and emergency service comprises the major part of the civil security forces in the Principality. It has a brigade of 142 men and serves and assists the Monegasque population on a daily basis. The Fire and Emergency Service has been a unit of the Military force since 1909. It is under the authority of H.S.H. prince Albert II and is deployed by the Ministry of Interior to protect people and property in the Principality's territory.
Its territory also extends to neighbouring French communes by virtue of the Franco-Monegasque Agreement of 29 May 1970 on mutual assistance for emergencies and civil protection. The number of calls responded to in neighbouring France represents approximately a quarter of the Service's overall activity.
Preventing and evaluating risks
To prepare for operations, the unit actively participates in activities to prevent the risk of fire and panic in the following areas:
- Drafting and monitoring regulations relating to fire and panic
- Studying building permits and documents relating to public events
- Inspecting works, buildings, establishments and temporary installations before the public is admitted
- Periodic visits to establishments that are open to the public, high buildings, manufacturing companies and industrial premises
- Taking part in the Technical Commission as a permanent member
In a general sense, the Fire and Emergency Service regularly carries out risk analysis in the Principality and evaluates the level of operational response.
To ensure coverage of all fire risks, the Service carries out periodical checks on fire hydrants, monitors the water supply network and constantly evaluates the need for water with regard to urban development.
Planning operations and ensuring that the brigade is prepared
Preventative activities are complemented by planning on two levels:
- On the operational level, by providing useful information in the field with:
- An operations centre that is in use 24/7
- Updating the alert database
- Drawing up emergency plans for the most sensitive establishments
- Organising visits and exercises in complex property developments
- Drawing up and updating national emergency plans
- And on the level of maintaining the physical and operational condition of the fire-fighters and their readiness to respond to incidents by:
- Organising and supervising sports sessions
- Monitoring manoeuvres and specific daily instructions
- Technical and professional training
- Keeping professional skills up to date
Responding to all types of incident
The fire and emergency service has 50 men on watch 24 hours a day. They respond to more than 8,700 calls per year; the fire engines are deployed more than 10,000 times with an average of 24 operations per day, 24% of which are in neighbouring French towns under the mutual assistance agreement of 1970.
In addition, under another Franco-Monegasque agreement signed in 2004, the Service can work with a French detachment to respond to external incidents by sending a unit of ten men who have been specially trained in looking for and saving people buried in earthquakes, and in the area of technological risks.
In 2011, Monaco fire and emergency service took part for the first time in search and rescue operations alongside a French detachment during the major earthquake and tsunami in Japan.