An alliance of firefighters, researchers, fire engineers, associations and industry representatives has urged the European Commission to take action on fire safety in buildings in their report Call to Action: The EU Needs Fire Safety Strategy.
“The EU is working in an indirect and uncoordinated manner on a number of issues that affect the fire safety of buildings and occupants”, the call to action reports, “yet fire safety is rarely a consideration when these policies are developed. A mechanism needs to be put in place to ensure that fire safety has a seat at the table in future policy making.”
Fire safety is a major societal and safety issue. There is no comparable data on building fires in the EU, however the disparate figures available suggest that there are at least 5,000 fire incidents each day across the EU. Fires have a more devastating effect on society and the environment than meets the eye, from producing pollutant gases, to affecting citizens’ and firefighters’ health, to causing a heavy economic impact. With a built environment that is rapidly changing, influenced largely by the drive for sustainability and innovations, it is key to ensure that new and renovated buildings are resilient to fire, and that prevention programs and policies are coordinated among Member States.
Bob Parkin said “We are presented with the opportunity to draw together the discrete elements of excellent practice that exist in fire safety to reduce the number of fire deaths among the general population and those involved in fighting fires.”
The report co-authors say “The EU has an unprecedented opportunity to improve the safety of its citizens.” The group is calling on the Commission to set up an expert group on fire safety to work on a European fire safety strategy, to map the issues, identify potential solutions, and draft a road map to achieve them.”