SAMU de France

Operator Profile

Key Facts

Current Title:
Service d'aide médicale urgente
English Title:
Urgent Medical Aid Service
First Established:
ICAO Code:


Narrative Summary

SAMU de France is a national organisation that despatches and regulates emergency medical care throughout France. In France ‘Services Mobiles d’Urgence et de Réanimations’, or Emergency Mobile Resuscitation Services are known as SMUR. The first such teams were established in 1955, to provide pre-hospital care at road accidents. In the following years many other hospitals introduced similar emergency medical services, and these were formally recognised by the government in 1965. In 1968 the Service d’aide médicale urgente (SAMU) or Emergency Medical Assistance Service was created to dispatch and coordinate these hospital teams. A SAMU call centre was established in each Department, 100 in total, and they control about 350 SMUR distributed throughout the country. In the 1970s military and Protection Civile helicopters began to be used for the most urgent accident cases. In 1983 the first civil helicopter service was established. At the present time there are 40 SAMU helicopter services, three of which are seasonal. Each service is provided by a commercial contractor and may cover a number of departments.

Key Dates

1955    First mobile hospital teams for attending accidents (SMUR teams) formed.
2 December 1965    Government decree formally authorises SMUR teams attached to hospitals.
1968    SAMU established to dispatch and coordinate SMUR teams.
1983    First full-time civil helicopter SAMU service launched.
6 January 1986    New law passed to regulate Emergency Medical Services.

Current Status

The SAMU aircraft and helicopters are used for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) missions and Air Ambulance duties.

Future Plans

No plans known.


Special Markings

Since SAMU helicopters are operated by contracted commercial companies, they are seen in a variety of colour schemes. Most common are variants of overall white with blue markings or overall yellow with blue markings. The markings include SAMU service titles and the three-barred cross which is the official logo of SAMU. Most helicopters also carry the SAMU district number and the logo of the commercial operator. Fixed wing (King Air) aircraft appear to retain their operators colour scheme with the three-barred cross in white on a black disk behind the cockpit amd SAMU 2B titles on the fin fairing.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

SAMU aircraft and helicopters carry French civil registrations, e.g. EC135 F-GMTF, except for the MD902s which operate under Belgian civil registrations.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used


Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Table of Current Service Aircraft

All-Time Aircraft Used List

All-Time Table of Aircraft Used

Aircraft NOT Used

Cessna 150 F-SMUR and SOCATA TB20 F-SAMU are entirely fictional.


Main Headquarters

Samu-Urgences de France, 103 avenue de Magenta, F-75010 PARIS.

Organisational Structure

All helicopters and aircraft are operated by local SAMU units attached to major hospitals or health centres.

Current Unit Assignments

Table of Current Unit Assignments

Historical Unit Assignments

To be added.

All-Time Flying Units List

List of Flying Units

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.


Official Website
Service d’aide médicale urgente
Map of SAMU helicopter bases
SAMU helicopters in France
The Bases of SAMU Helicopters in France

Any further photographs illustrating this air arm would be welcome.

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