French County Fire and Rescue Service

Operator Profile

Key Facts

Current Title:
Service départemental d'incendie et de secours
English Title:
French County Fire and Rescue Service
First Established:
ICAO Code:


Narrative Summary

The Service départemental d’incendie et de secours (SDIS) provides fire and rescue services in each Department of France, apart from Paris and central Marseille, which have separate military-staffed fire brigades. Each department funds and manages its own service, while working to standards set and inspected by central government. Many units seem to have been formed in the 1940s and 1950s, presumably replacing and supplementing previous volunteer services. In the late 1990s some SDIS units began to lease light aircraft for fire spotting patrols in the peak wildfire season of mid-summer. Fixed-wing aircraft operate under the radio call sign ‘Horus’, while helicopters use ‘Charlie’.

Key Dates

23 February 1716    First official firefighting unit established in France.
21 March 1831    Formal organisation of municipal firefighting bodies.
?? 1942    First SDIS established as a local initiative.
20 May 1955    Establishment of SDIS units officially approved.
3 May 1996    New law mandates each department to have a SDIS.
??    First aircraft utilised for fire spotting.

Current Status

The SDIS aircraft are mainly used for fire spotting, but some helicopters are also used for water bombing.

Future Plans

No plan known.


Special Markings

Most SDIS aircraft retain the markings of the parent organisation they were leased from, with the addition of a ‘SAPEURS-POMPIERS 18 OU 112 LOT’ logo on the fin or fuselage. A few aircraft also carry SAPEUR-POMPIERS service titles on the fuselage. The Airvan and Cessna 207 of SDIS 66 actually carry elaborate fin markings depicting a firefighters helmet and SAPEURS POMPIERS 66 titles.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

SDIS aircraft carry French civil registrations, e.g. Gippsland GA-8 F-GOGR.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used


Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Aircraft Type Total Del’d Total Active Still on Order Role
Aerospatiale AS 350B Ecureuil 4+ ? 0 Firefighting
Cessna 172 ? ? 0 Fire Spotting
Cessna 177 Cardinal 1 1 0 Fire Spotting
Cessna 182 ? ? 0 Fire Spotting
Cessna 207 1 1 0 Fire Spotting
Cessna 208 Grand Caravan 3? 1 0 Fire Spotting
Gippsland GA8 Airvan 1 1 0 Fire Spotting
Piper PA-28 Archer ? ? 0 Fire Spotting

All-Time Aircraft Used List

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Aero Commander S2R 2 ?? ?? leased
Aerospatiale AS 350B Ecureuil 4+ ?? current leased
Agusta-Bell AB205 1 ?? ?? leased
Bell 205 1 ?? ?? leased
Cessna 172 1 ?? current leased
Cessna 177 Cardinal 1 ?? current leased
Cessna 182 1 ?? current leased
Cessna 188 AgTruck 1 ?? ?? leased
Cessna 207 1 ?? current leased
Cessna 208B Grand Caravan 3? ?? current leased
Cessna 210 ? ?? ?? leased
Gippsland GA8 Airvan 1 ?? current leased
Grumman G-164 Agcat ? ?? ?? leased
Robin R.1180 ? ?? ?? leased
Piper PA-28 Archer 1 ?? current leased

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.


Main Headquarters

The SDIS is a devolved service with each Department administering its own operations. There is no central headquarters.

Organisational Structure

SDIS aircraft are operated by the individual Department organisation.

Current Unit Assignments

Table of Current Unit Assignments

Historical Unit Assignments

To be added.

All-Time Flying Units List

To be added.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

See table of unit assignments.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

As above.

More Information


French Aviation Bibliography – to be added


No feature articles known.

Websites départemental d’incendie et de secours
List of all SDIS units

Any further photographs illustrating this operator would be welcome.

Leave a Comment