An agreement has been signed between the Agglo and the Aude departmental fire and rescue service so that volunteer firefighters carrying out a professional activity can free themselves more easily.

“When we look more closely at the human resources available, we realize that the department’s workforce is made up of 91% volunteer firefighters. They provide nearly 90% of the interventions. Figures well above the national average. This shows how essential volunteering is in Aude.” These few words from Colonel Guillaume Jean set the scene for the Aude situation. That is why, “in order to strengthen the civic engagement of volunteer firefighters” of intercommunality, a pact was signed between the president of SDIS 11 (Departmental fire and rescue service) of Aude, Christian Raynaud, and the president of Carcassonne Agglo, Régis Banquet.

Maintain a strong territorial network

Aude now has just over 2,000 volunteer firefighters and some 190 professional firefighters. For the situation to be calmer, about 300 additional agents would be needed. “The challenge is to maintain a strong territorial network, both in terms of material, infrastructure and human resources, launches the president of the SDIS. To meet this challenge, it is necessary to create vocations, increase the number of volunteer firefighters and develop their period of availability during the week, during the day. This is when most of them are working.”

Benefits for employers

The pact aims to facilitate the activities of volunteer firefighters with the support of their employers, public or private. Thus, the volunteer will have the opportunity to train during his working time, go on an intervention or even arrive late if he is requisitioned. In return, if employers decide to commit to this process, they will be able to benefit from financial advantages. In the public sector, for example, by signing the “total availability agreement”, the municipalities will be able to recover the sum of €500 per year and per agent. On the private side, a corporate tax reduction is proposed.

For the time being, companies such as GRDF, Enedis, SCA Arterris or the Carcassonnais business leaders club have responded favorably to this agreement.