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The fire service in France is known as Sapeurs-pompiers, except in Marseille, where naval “sailor-firefighters”, marins-pompiers, provide fire and rescue services.

There are approximately 250,584 fire service personnel in France operating 15,000 emergency vehicles out of 10,238 emergency centres.

Pompier (firefighter) etymologically comes from the concept of pumping (water) and refers to the manual pumps that were originally used. Sapeur means “sapper” and refers to the first official firefighting unit created by Napoleon I which was part of the military engineering arm.

Wikipedia.

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6th Mar 2011
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