Campaign launched to combat violence against firefighters

Emergency services such as fire fighters and paramedics are increasingly confronted with verbal and physical aggression during interventions, with a traditional peak during the holiday season. Interior minister Annelies Verlinden launched an awareness campaign on Monday in Schoten with the message "violence against fire brigades and ambulance crews is no laughing matter".

Verlinden is calling for more respect for the emergency services. "These are heroes, people who are committed to saving the lives of others or keeping our society safe," she said. "Being the target of violence is not part of their job description, and we should never consider this normal. The campaign also encourages their families. We are showing that we stand behind them."

In addition to the campaign, Verlinden is also promising other measures to better tackle violence against fire brigades and paramedics. "The new criminal code before parliament contains stricter penalties, as is already the case for violence against the police," she said.

"We call on victims to always report crimes because there is still under-reporting. We are also ensuring the rollout of cameras on fire trucks and drones. These can serve to visualise situations during an intervention and collect evidence if there is aggression."

According to the most recent figures from 2022, there are, on average, 10 cases of aggression towards fire brigades or ambulance personnel in Belgium per week.



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