European Fire Safety Week 2021 - WEBINAR #2

The dangerous reduction in escape times
|| Tuesday November 30th, 10h00 – 12h30 (CET)

The focus of this webinar are the results of the experiments on smoke propagation (The Netherlands, 2020) in relation with the action points (within Focus Area 2) of the European Fire safety Action Plan. During this webinar we will update you on the developments of smoke detectors, upholstered furniture and mattresses and cables. In particular the improvement of these products in terms of broader applications, improved fire safety and market surveillance. Let our experts update you!

Program & recordings


Welcome and introduction

Rene Hagen EuroFSA
Rene Hagen The Netherlands Professor of fire safety, European Fire Safety Alliance

Smoke Propagation: focus on product safety

Lieuwe de Witte The Netherlands Senior researcher, IFV

Member states need to act to reduce fire deaths in the home

Shane Lyons Ierland Business Development Manager – Ei Electronics

Increasing consumer awareness of the need for smoke alarms in homes is crucial to reduce fire related deaths. Typically, over 80% of fire deaths occur in the home. Europe’s experienced players in smoke alarms are working to change this. Building a fire safe future requires communicating with consumers and the support of partners, such as local fire fighters and governments. We would like to open a discussion with individuals and countries who feel they have a stake in this topic.

Take home message

  • Experienced players joining forces
  • Do not wait for legislation
  • Nothing will change unless we move forward together

Member states need to act to reduce fire deaths in the home

Sanne Michielsen Netherlands sr. Business Line Manager – Smartwares Group

Fire safety of upholstered furniture

Kasturirangan Kannah Belgium Director, Product Advocacy, LANXESS

It is estimated that around 5,000 people die in the EU annually due to fire, the vast majority in their homes. It is well known that upholstered furniture is the major fire hazard. As a result, they contribute to a large share of the fatalities in house fires. In the UK and Ireland, flame retardants are used to reduce their flammability and there are safe substances on the market. Therefore the EU should consider a harmonised standard for the flammability of upholstered furniture.

Take home message

  • Continental EU fire fatality rates are nearly double those of the UK and Ireland, where fire safety standards are higher
  • Flame retardants are typically employed in foam and fabrics to reduce the flammability of furniture and safe formulations are widely available
  • Harmonised flammability standards for upholstered furniture in the EU will greatly reduce the number of people killed

New general product safety regulation - An opportunity to address flammability hazards

Patrick Fox Belgium Head of Public Affairs and Advocacy, BSEF

The general product safety directive provides an EU-wide “safety net” for non-food consumer products. Today there is a proposal to revise the directive and strengthen it by making it into a regulation. This presentation will explore the revision as an opportunity to address flammability hazards of products including furnishings and home appliances, and highlight why this could be an important step forward for fire safety at EU level.

Take home message

  • The proliferation of consumer goods in our homes has made the issue of fire safety of everyday products more important than ever
  • New GPSR offers opportunity to include a reference to flammability hazards to remind manufacturers and market surveillance authorities of the importance of ensuring the fire safety of products
  • Including such a reference will ensure products placed on the EU market comply with fire safety standards and do not contribute to the risk of fire



Improving fire safety of mattresses through circular design

Geert Doorlag Researcher, Auping, The Netherlands

Impression test cables

Ruud van Liempd The Netherlands Researcher, IFV, The Netherlands

We look into the burning behaviour of different kind of cables with fire tests in a realistic environment. We also look at the routes of fire propagation of a burning cable tray in an office environment.

Take home message

  • Big difference in burning behaviour of different kind of cables
  • ‘bad’ cables burn really fast and intense
  • Use the appropriate type of cable

No (CPR) compliance no (fire) safety

Nicola Scirocco Italy Chair Cable CPR Compliance Programme Europacable

Electricity has become a vital part of everyday life over the past 100 years. However, electricity can also be dangerous if not managed properly. Electrical safety issues are mainly the result from an unsuitable design, an inappropriate use of the installation or a lack of proper maintenance. More importantly, poor and sub-standard electrics and fraudulent products are increasing the risk of electrical safety issues. A study involving high performance cables and basic performance cables in a realistic environment shows the difference in burning behaviour. With the basic performance a fire propagates fast over the cables, with the high performance a fire propagates slowly over the cables. The takeaway from the study is that a fire in the basic performance cables in a furnished room can cause a rapid fire propagation resulting in an impaired escape and fatal conditions.

Take home message

  • It must be prevented that cables or cables in electrical installation become the ignition source of a fire
  • It is important that cables in electrical installation are designed, installed, used and maintained properly
  • Using basic classes of cables not in line with required levels of fire safety increases the risk of electrical safety issues which can result in a fire or a fire propagation with unacceptable risks for the level of fire safety

Discussion and questions


Closing remarks

Rene Hagen The Netherlands Professor of fire safety, EuroFSA