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Next step towards implementation of the European Fire Safety Action Plan

On the 17-18-19th November, five high-level online events about fire safety were co-organised by the European Fire Safety Alliance (EuroFSA). More than 32 speakers succeeded to share their expertise, draft recommendations, bring their concerns, request to bridge gaps and lead EuroFSA in defining the actions to be undertaken by the next edition in 2021.  EuroFSA is now fully and concretely equipped to engage with the European Commission with clear and strong messages on how improving fire safety for all. In this edition – that attracted more than 600 registrations, EuroFSA was honoured to be heavily supported by Members of the European Parliament Maria da Graça Carvalho (Portugal), Sean Kelly (Ireland), Adam Kosa (Hungary), Carlos Zorrinho (Portugal) and Zeljana Zovko.

For the second edition of the European Fire Safety Week, the European Fire Safety Alliance successfully managed to get surrounded by the highest fire safety experts. Each events where linked to a specific Focus Area identified as key in the European Fire Safety Action Plan.

Member of the European Parliament Adam Kosa: Ensure fire safety of vulnerable people
In his opening address, Member of the European Parliament Adam Kosa signed the importance of considering the most vulnerable communities when addressing fire safety. MEP Kosa being deaf, he is particularly aware and concerned by the difficulties faced by his community to – what should be a very basic need – ensuring their safety. The webinar #1 also identified elderly, disabled and children as most vulnerable. Concrete ideas and requests were brought by former MEP Helga Stevens to take example on the Americans with Disabilities Act that prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities and ensure the safety for all in public areas.

“We want to establish a European approach of improving the fire safety of the vulnerable community and the most vulnerable groups – elderly people (65+), children and people with a mental or physical disability .”

Member of the European Parliament Sean Kelly: Are you Fire Safe? Are you aware?
The Webinar #2 focused on how raising awareness for Fire Safety. Member of the European Parliament Sean Kelly reminded the importance of awareness raising to avoid human tragedies and property loss. Experts from Finland, Belgium, Ireland and Germany presented their experience on successful awareness campaigns. The European Commission via the Erasmus + programme supports the Bfiresafe@School project that focuses on awareness raising for pupils and student.

“We need to encourage and support the activities of the Fire Rescue Services regarding Community Fire Safety projects, both at a national and international level.  Also we have to stimulate (or foster) scientific research on improving the fire safe behaviour of people and the effectiveness of interventions in the field of Community Fire Safety.”

Experiment on smoke propagation:  Improve fire-safe of upholstered furniture and mattresses
Smoke is the first killer in case of a fire. During the Webinar #3 the Dutch Fire Academy presented the results and conclusions of the very first mega test never experimented before. In a to-be-demolished hospital, the team – lead by Lieuwe de Witte and Hans Hazebroek from the Dutch Fire Service Academy – put 25 sofas on fire, recreating a multitude of combinations and scenarios to test and measure the efficiency of firefighting strategy as well as how smoke propagates. This unique experiment will benefit firefighters to better fight a braze, avoid smoke intoxication of occupants and ensure asafe evacuation.

“Clear is that we also have to ensure that smoke detectors have a much broader application in European homes. If people are not able to escape quickly eno ugh or cannot escape at all, install domestic sprinklers as they are an indispensable solution in these circumstances.”

Energy transition in transports: Fires in existing road vehicles are already an issue
It is estimated that around one third of the world car market will be electric or hybrid by 2030. This has important implications for rescue services on the road (accidents, fires in e-vehicles) and brings specific new fire safety risks in buildings (related to batteries in parked vehicles, to charging etc.). Fires in existing road vehicles are already an issue. In the webinar Energy transition in transports the concept for understanding the specific new fire risks of electric and hybrid vehicles, both on the road and in buildings were presented. Also the approaches developed by the car industry and suppliers to address these risks are discussed.

Fire safety competency must accompany the renovation wave in the current European context
The European Fire Safety Week ended with the webinar dedicated to the fire safety of buildings in the context of the energy transition. Fire Engineers, architects and electrical safety experts reminded the importance to involve people with the right skills and competencies in the building design, construction and maintenance phases of a building. Quentin de Hults, from the Modern Building Alliance presented an overview of a survey they have run to 835 architects from 8 European countries to get a better visibility of the request for external fire safety expertise in the design of residential projects.

Members of the European Parliament Maria da Graça Carvalho, Carlos Zorrinho and Zeljana Zovko shared their political and technical expertise on what should be done to ensure fire safety competency to accompany the renovation wave in the current European context.


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