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Surely the most famous mountain rescue unit in France, the Gendarmerie High Mountain Unit (PGHM) of the city of Chamonix, in the Alps, is celebrating this month its 60th anniversary.

Highly trained gendarmes are on duty 24/7.  Winter and summer are the busiest seasons of the year on the Mont Blanc area. It all adds up to hundreds of people being rescued each year. But not only, as the gendarmes are also in charge of …

  • finding missing persons,
  • specific mountain law enforcement,
  • general and technical surveillance of the mountains, 
  • participating in security commissions when the ski domain and mountain huts are concerned,
  • prevention and public awareness,
  • investigating mountain accidents,
  • provide judicial expertise.

Hence, these gendarmes do both rescues and investigations, working closely with helicopter pilots, civil security, gendarmerie dog handlers, doctors and so on.

To celebrate this anniversary, “Mountain Rescue days” are organised from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th June 2018 in Chamonix:

– Friday 15 June: conference on “60 years of relief”.
– Saturday 16 June:  “village rescue” with many demonstrations and animations (helicopter demonstration, climbing wall, exhibitions, aerial demonstration on the site site.
– Sunday 17 June:  “Village Relief” and the official ceremony.

In addition, the National Mountain Training Center of the Gendarmerie (CNISAG) celebrate its 30th anniversary. Located in the same premises as the PGHM, they train not only French gendarmes but also officers from other countries.

To read more on these units, click here (in French)

Picture below: Mr Lambert, Prefect; Mr Collomb, Minister of Interior; General Lizurey, General Director of the Gendarmerie Nationale.