The PGHM, Pelotons de Gendarmerie de Haute Montagne (High Mountain Gendarmerie Platoons) and the PGM, Pelotons de Gendarmerie de Montagne (Mountain Gendarmerie Platoons) are units of the national gendarmerie specialized in rescuing victims of accidents in the massifs, where special skills and equipment are required.
The bases of the PGHM are found in the Alpes and the Pyrenees regions, as well as in Corsica and Réunion, while those of the PGM are found in the Massif Central, the Jura and the Vosges.
They have a strength of over 250 soldiers who are State-certified specialists in mountain rescue operations. These gendarmes serve as guides, apprentice guides and ski instructors. There are other specialized units in this domain, notably the dog teams and first-aid gendarmes.
Hélicoptère du PGHM en action
Immediately the PGHM picks up an SOS signal from the mountains, it is capable of dispatching one of its helicopters to the scene, with a crew comprising one doctor and two rescuers. This rescue team go as close as possible to the accident site, which had been indicated to them, to provide first aid to persons in difficulty and fly the wounded to the hospital.
Furthermore, these units enable the gendarmerie to perform its judiciary and administrative police duties, as well as carry out its investigation and evaluation missions.