the metropolitan citizen reserve between fictitious exercise and real storms

the metropolitan citizen reserve between fictitious exercise and real storms
the metropolitan citizen reserve between fictitious exercise and real storms

Bordeaux, at an undetermined date. According to Météo-France, temperatures will be around 44 degrees. “The record in Bordeaux is 42.6 degrees,” says Sébastien Lavigne, head of the risks and crises department at Bordeaux Métropole. But we pushed the cursors a little because the projections lead us to think that these heat waves will repeat and intensify. »

You will have understood, all this is just an exercise, the very first organized for volunteers from the metropolitan citizen reserve, who can be mobilized in the event of a major crisis, in this case a heatwave episode expected to last. This is a fictitious situation, but it almost feels like it. And Sdis 33, which participated in the training of the reservists, was there as an observer.

Sitting on a camp bed, a young woman holds a six-month-old baby in her arms. His name is Juan. It’s a doll. A member of the Gironde Civil Protection and a reservist, recognizable by her yellow t-shirt and her chasuble, took care of them as soon as they arrived at the Espace Saint-Rémi, 4, rue Jouannet, a former church which became a venue of communal cultural expression. The place is large, “very well positioned” near busy streets in the city center, and, above all, it is always cool there.

Surprise scenario

The difficulty, for the two volunteers in question, is the language barrier, even if only to write down basic information. Facing them, Wafaa plays “a mother who doesn’t speak French”. She chose Spanish, which she masters perfectly, for this role whose objective, as Sébastien Lavigne explains, is to “test the response abilities of her comrades”. Everyone discovered the scenario at the last moment. Around forty reservists take care of welcoming people to help, extras from the reserves themselves, invested with conviction in their one-day characters. At one point, nine showed up at the same time, a way of putting the system to the test.

In the morning, the first phase of this field rehearsal, a crisis unit brought together the relevant services of the City of Bordeaux. The Saint-Rémi space, strategic in its heatwave plan, is tested on this occasion. In 2023, for the first time, it served as a place of respite for homeless people. “They are the first to suffer during heat waves,” emphasizes Sébastien Lavigne.

During storms too. Just the day before, “a little more than thirty people living in precarious housing were welcomed” at the Aubiers-Ginko gymnasium. Reality preceded fiction. On the eve of the first crisis management exercise in its history, part of the metropolitan citizen reserve was mobilized “for real”. Chantal, 76, participated in both. “I was alerted in the afternoon,” she says. You could come either from 6 p.m. to midnight or from midnight to 8 a.m. As I had an evening, I asked for night reception. I only slept for an hour. » But she wanted to be there, with the extras’ armband.

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