"In this period of crisis, the support of industry is essential"
Throughout the national territory (including overseas territories), the Gendarmerie Nationale Air Forces (France) are on hand to help regional units manage the Covid-19 crisis. They are also on hand under new protocols, notably for the benefit of the Police Nationale and public-private partnerships (PPP).
The Gendarmerie Nationale owns 56 helicopters, AS350 Ecureuils, EC135s and EC145s, all of which are powered by Safran (Arrius and Arriel engines). To date, Claudia has logged 1,220 flight hours in the fight against Covid-19.
How is the current crisis changing the pace of your work and the type of work you're doing? In which regions? How many missions have you been on since the beginning of this crisis?
The quarantine obviously impacted the operational activity of the Gendarmerie Lyon Air Detachment (DAG). The overall decrease in delinquency in our area of competence has led to a marked slowdown in our engagement in "judicial policing" missions (searches for criminals, investigations, judicial surveillance). There has also been a sharp decline in suspicious disappearances.
Our activity has been mainly focused on missions for the administrative police and, to a lesser extent, on inter-hospital transport of patients with Covid-19 for the SAMU 69 emergency services.
The missions for the administrative police consisted mostly of monitoring compliance with the rules of quarantine in both peri-urban and rural areas, with a view to prevention or crackdown, in coordination with procedures on the ground.
How do you work with your colleagues from civil defense and the Department of the Armed Forces, particularly within the framework of "Opération Résilience"?
Concerning inter-hospital transport, Lyon did three missions in the place of the SAMU 69 helicopter, which was already engaged in patient transfers, as part of "Opération Résilience". The aim was to relieve congestion in the intensive care units in peripheral hospitals in the Lyon area.
Have you had to adapt your equipment (helicopters, on-board equipment) to carry out missions during this crisis?
At present, our helicopter is always set up for medical purposes in order to respond to requests from the emergency services, in the spirit of #RépondrePrésent.
To carry out these missions, we fitted out the helicopter to prevent any risk of contamination for the crew and to facilitate the disinfection of the aircraft following discussions with medical teams, our partners from the Air Force, the Gendarmerie Nationale, the emergency services and civil defense.
Layout of an EC135 for inter-hospital transport
Is it important for you to continue to have the support of industry (helicopter, engine & equipment manufacturers) during this period?
Of course, in this period of crisis, when we must fulfill our duty of public service and commitment to the public, it is essential to have the support of industry to maintain a high level of availability for our aircraft and the continuity of public services.