Reintegration of unvaccinated firefighters: Details from the SDIS

Following the publication yesterday of decree 2023-368 of May 13, 2023 in the Official Journal, the departmental fire and rescue service of La Réunion, through the voices of its president, Mr. Stéphane Fouassin, and its director and chief of , colonel hors classe Frédéric Léguillier, wishes to clarify the state of reinstatement of unvaccinated firefighters.

Reminder of the regulatory framework

The vaccination obligation for healthcare personnel, including firefighters, was introduced by law no. 2021-1040 of August 5, 2021 relating to the management of the health crisis. Its implementing decree (No. 2021-1059), published on August 7, 2021, specified the terms of application of the vaccination obligation and in particular the deadlines for carrying out the first and second vaccination injections.
It was followed by Decree No. 2021-1207 of September 20, 2021, which made adjustments to the vaccination deadlines.
Following the favorable evolution of this pandemic, decree 2023-368 of May 13, 2023 now authorizes the reintegration of non-vaccinated personnel into the professions concerned by the vaccination obligation.

The situation at the SDIS in Reunion

The Reunion SDIS implemented these regulations in the context of a particularly anxiety-provoking pandemic and also repeatedly praised the commitment of the firefighters who took part in the rescue operations and in the arming of the two vaccination centers. in this difficult period.
During this health crisis, some professional firefighters combined both a situation of administrative suspension linked to the absence of vaccination and a situation of sick leave. Administrative case law considered that their sick leave status prevailed over their suspension.
2 professional firefighters out of the 869 in the Reunion SDIS have actually been suspended. Their suspension order ended following the publication of the decree mentioned here.

Contrary to certain information that may have circulated in the press, it is important to emphasize that the service has not suspended any volunteer firefighters for non-vaccination. Furthermore, it is essential to emphasize that the status of volunteer firefighter, governed by the Internal Security Code (L723-3 to L723-21), is a freely consented civic commitment and not a profession. The receipt of allowances is a recognition of the public community towards its volunteers, but it does not constitute a salary. It is an active contribution of committed citizens who choose to dedicate their time and their skills to the service of the population. These personnel who did not fulfill their vaccination obligations specified above were unable to ensure their guards.

At the end of a period of 3 months without activity and without justification, and following a formal notice, volunteer firefighters thus made the personal choice to request a temporary interruption of their commitment, in accordance with their rights and in application of the internal security code for personal reasons.
Currently, 214 volunteer firefighters from the Reunion SDIS have interrupted their commitment for their own reasons (moving, studies, unavailability, etc.).
Finally, it is important to remember that any resumption of activity by firefighters, whether volunteers or professionals, is subject to common law, namely: to have medical fitness and to respect their maintenance training obligations and improvement of acquired skills, allowing the preservation and improvement of skills acquired and conditioning the maintenance of activities and skills. These requirements guarantee their ability to fulfill their missions safely and efficiently.

We would like to express our deep gratitude to all the volunteer and professional firefighters, whose commitment and dedication are essential to ensuring the safety of Reunionese. The departmental fire and rescue service of La Réunion will continue to support and accompany all its agents, in compliance with the regulations in force.

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