The Airbus Helicopters Corporate Foundation has signed an agreement with the French sea rescue organization, and IMRF Members, SNSM (Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer) to provide training and equipment that will enable the SNSM's volunteer lifesavers to assist during helicopter rescue missions.
The agreement was signed by SNSM Chairman Xavier de la Gorce and the Executive Director of the Airbus Helicopters Corporate Foundation, Georges Richelme (pictured) during the 4th annual forum on maritime safety organized by SNSM.
SNSM has more than 7,000 volunteers based at 220 stations along the coasts of France and its overseas territories. They are frequently called upon to take part in operations involving national security forces or the French Navy and Air Force.
The financial support made available by the Foundation under the terms of this new agreement will be used to equip the SNSM lifesavers with the special skills and materials needed to participate in helicopter missions.
As SNSM's Xavier de La Gorce explains: "Our volunteers are frequently required to work alongside helicopter crews when carrying out rescue missions.
They also take part in joint exercises with SNSM's partners to practice winching operations, which demand exact timing and precision, especially in rough seas.
So we are all the more delighted to have signed this agreement with the Airbus Helicopters Corporate Foundation, because it will provide us with the means to train our volunteers and equip them with the necessary materials to optimize interoperability between the various participants in sea rescue missions."
"Through this partnership, the Airbus Helicopters Corporate Foundation wishes to support the selfless efforts of the SNSM volunteers who each day risk their own lives in order to rescue people in danger at sea," said Georges Richelme of the Foundation.
"It gives us immense pleasure to be able to help improve the personal safety and mission efficiency of the SNSM rescue teams."
A total of 50 lifeguards will be trained under the terms of the partnership agreement. The first courses will be held in September 2014.
The Airbus Helicopters Corporate Foundation was created in 2012 as a non-profit legal entity that unites the company's humanitarian activities under one framework with a focus on emergency response; aid for developing countries; aid for those living in extremely difficult conditions; and youth development through the transfer of aeronautical know-how.
See www.fondationairbushelicopters.com. SNSM's website is at www.snsm.org.
(photo courtesy SNSM)