In 2002, following the deaths of a number of firefighters attending road-accident scenes, the French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy asked Colonel Pourny of the fire department to "conduct an analysis of the full range of missions carried out by firefighters and put forward proposals aimed at improving active and passive safety on the ground". In light of the recommendations of the "Pourny report", the French Directorate of Civil Defence and Security or DDSC (Direction de la Défense et de la Sécurité Civiles), decided to set up a joint working group with French car manufacturers. The group – which was set up in the spring of 2005 – was required to make improvements in the methods employed by teams working on damaged vehicles at accident scenes, the aim being to facilitate rescue work and enhance firefighter safety. Such improvement is vital given that recent vehicles (coupé-cabriolets in particular) are increasingly difficult to cut because of the reinforcements and impact-resistant materials used to protect passengers in the event of a collision.
After a year's collaboration, the working group decided to focus on two complementary initiatives:
- The creation of an "extrication card" for distribution to French fire brigades;
- The organization of extrication exercises for active-service firefighters, using recent vehicles.
A detailed, illustrated presentation will be made of each of these initiatives, thereby raising awareness of the technical information contained in the extrication cards distributed to French firefighters since July 2006.
Details of pilot exercises will also be provided.