Dashcams in fire engines and ambulances to improve staff safety
Fire engines and ambulances can use dashcams to record their journey to an emergency. The intention is to gather evidence in case staff are obstructed or attacked, according to Het Nieuwsblad and Gazet van Antwerpen.
On New Year's Eve, an ambulance in Antwerp was attacked by groups of youths and arrived 10 minutes late. Such incidents are not uncommon. In 2022, there were about 10 cases of aggression against firefighters or paramedics every week.
Interior minister Annelies Verlinden, of Flemish Christian democrats CD&V, has drafted a bill to regulate the use of cameras by civil emergency services to better protect staff from aggression. The bill would, for example, allow fire brigades and hospitals to equip their vehicles with dashboard cameras to record the journey to and from an emergency.
According to Verlinden, this new regulation should increase staff safety. The bill also regulates the use of cameras by the fire brigade, for example, during major forest fires, which was previously unclear from a legal point of view. The emergency services have reacted positively to the news and hope it will act as a deterrent.
© BELGA PHOTO TIMON RAMBOER