Coronavirus: Overloaded sports calendar, overworked civil security

With the postponement to the fall of many sporting events, the congestion of the calendar is more and more visible. But for many organizers, civil security, essential on major sporting events, seems to be in the background. Approved civil security associations, such as Civil Protection or the Red Cross, fear an overload of activity during this period.

The postponements of sporting events have been linked in recent weeks, and many of them have been postponed until the fall such as the Tour de France, Roland-Garros, the 24 hours of Le Mans or the Paris marathon, so as not to quote them. So if we are happy to know that our favorite sporting events are not canceled, there could be many questions around the organization and in particular around civil security on these events.

For international, national and interdepartmental competitions, the organizer is obliged to call on one or more approved civil security associations, such as Civil Protection or the Red Cross. These associations have the mission of pre-positioning a rescue team on the scene of the event, intended both for the public and for actors, such as athletes for example. This is called a contingency back-up device. In other words, these rescuers are there to take care of a person who was the victim of an accident or faintness during the demonstration. They thus carry out first aid and even emergency gestures if necessary, and alert the emergency services.

Without civil security, risk of cancellation

But it would seem that the organizers have more in mind the economic consequences of the postponement rather than the civil security of their future event. “A lot of the organizers were not aware of this, in fact,” said Florent Vallée, national delegate for first aid in planning and operations of the Red Cross. Because for the time being, only ASO, organizer of the Tour de France in particular, has notified the Red Cross of its new dates and therefore of the organizational changes. Roland-Garros has still not contacted Civil Protection in order to organize its postponement. An oversight which can however be expensive for the organizers. “If they postpone without notifying the approved civil security association, they may not have the authorization of the prefecture or the sub-prefecture to organize their event,” explains Florent Vallée. So understand, cancellation.

As the sports calendar fills up, associations fear that they will not be able to meet all needs. “From September, we can expect an overload of activity on our aid stations and this will create a difficulty in processing all these emergency relief devices at the same time”, explains Jérémy Crunchant, administrator of Civil Protection on a national level. A vision shared by Florent Vallée. “With the postponement of many major events, we will have a traffic jam of sporting and also cultural events over this period in addition to the events already planned. We are going to have difficulty in keeping all the arrangements in place, ”said Florent Vallée, who feared that there would not be enough volunteers available.

September 20, day at the three events

Besides, one day will be particularly busy, that of September 20, with the arrival of the Tour de France on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, the first day of Roland-Garros and finally the 24h of Le Mans. Just that. Jérémy Crunchant recognizes that the overload will be significant. “Last year, for Civil Protection, we had 30 volunteers on the Tour de France and 30 at Roland-Garros. By September 20, you will have to have 60 first aid volunteers available, trained in level 2 first aid. It is not easy to find. ”

So to deal with this heavy traffic jam of events on September 20, and those of autumn in general, the Civil Protection plans to call on all of its volunteers from French territory. “We can already imagine helping each other between departments, making a call for national solidarity, which enables volunteers to be sent from one department to another in order to strengthen the teams. It’s the same process we’ve put in place for the Women’s World Cup last year, ”said Jérémy Crunchant, national civil protection administrator.

Fatigue and financial loss

Beyond the large number of postponements to the same periods, associations also fear seeing their teams exhausted, after having chained missions for months on the ground against the Covid-19. “Our volunteers have been very involved in the field since the start of the crisis. So they will probably be tired both morally and physically, ”says Jérémy Crunchant.

Another fear of Civil Protection, its financial capacity. Because without events on which to intervene, no income goes into the scholarships of the association. “From the moment we are called upon, we have a price list which varies according to the event, the number of participants, the commitment of our volunteers and which takes into account the costs linked to the mission”, says Jérémy Crunchant. “This money then allows us to reinvest in emergency equipment or to carry out missions in times of crisis, as is currently the case. Finally, today if we can intervene on the Covid-19 crisis, it is also because we had major sporting or cultural events to manage like the Women’s World Cup, which allows us to live in the year.”

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