Sophie Dormoy: being a firefighter in Val d'Isère

From volunteer firefighter to deputy center chief, a commitment to serving others!

After three years as a volunteer, Sophie Dormoy has chosen to become a professional firefighter. Recently posted to Val d'Isère, Sophie chose this region for its civic involvement, which is stronger in a mountain village than in other regions. Indeed, far from the clichés of adventure worthy of the best action films, it's contact with people and sharing that are at the heart of the job. This strong human dimension motivates Sophie on a daily basis, whether during operations, maneuvers or life in the barracks. She also insists on the permanent evolution offered by this activity. Joining the fire department means discovering a world apart, learning on a daily basis and developing new skills.


The daily life of a firefighter 

They may have different statuses, but at the fire station they're all in the same boat, whether professional or volunteer. The two meet, train and carry out interventions and training sessions with partners (some thirty first-aid sessions in 2023). As a professional, Sophie must also supervise the volunteer firefighters and deal with administrative aspects.

As a volunteer, you can be on call or on-call, depending on your preferences and availability.

On call, the volunteer can do whatever he likes, as long as he stays within a close perimeter, so he can react at any moment. They have a beeper that alerts them if their presence is required on an intervention.

During a shift, volunteers come to live at the barracks for 12 or 24 hours. According to Sophie, this is the most interesting part of the day, as a real collective is created during these moments of life. A typical day begins with an on-call assembly, where the chief announces the day's program. Activities then unfold according to the established timetable: maneuvers (intervention simulation, etc.), instruction sessions (theory) or sports training. The day ends with a lunch break. Small jobs can be carried out to improve the barracks: at present, a new women's changing room is being created from scratch by volunteers and professionals.


The special features of Val d'Isère

Seasonal tourism impacts the work of firefighters. Personal assistance (illness, need for emergency transport...) accounts for 85% of their interventions, the majority of which occur in winter due to the influx of people. In the off-season, they are more likely to intervene with local residents, giving a different dimension to their actions. In summer, they are particularly busy with accidents at the Bike Park and, increasingly, with climatic hazards (on the territory or in support by traveling to other départements).


Persistent myths holding back commitment

Being a firefighter isn't just for a certain type of person, who's super-sporty or available all the time. To change these stereotypes, the team is working on a communication project. Via social networks, they want to highlight what it's like to be a firefighter today, in Val d'Isère, the specificities of the center, the interventions... The objective: to show that this activity is accessible and that all volunteers have a place, will be listened to and can participate according to their skills.

Agreements with employers are also to be put in place, so that employees can take advantage of training time and be on call during their shift. This would enable us to strengthen our teams and increase the number of volunteer firefighters on duty all year round.


Curious to find out more? Want to get involved? Come and meet the Val d'Isère team and visit the fire station.

Contact: Julian Defour or Sophie Dormoy


Val d'Isère fire station

Val d'Isère fire station