Our Focus » Fires in the Home
Each year in the European Union fire deaths total is around 8,000 with ten times that many injuries, according to conservative estimates. Approximately 80% of these fires occur in the home involving a few deaths at a time. The added tragedy is that the majority of these fires and deaths are preventable.
Most fires can be avoided
It is true that the causes of these accidental fires in the home are many and varied – a simple accident, oversight or defect can lead to tragedy, but if well-established fire safety standards and multiple practices had been respected, most could have been avoided.
The most vulnerable
The European Fire Safety Alliance believes therefore that domestic fire safety should be a matter of great concern for society in general and a top priority for all those in whom we entrust our families’ care and welfare. Moreover, it is often the most vulnerable (children, elderly people, people with disabilities, low income families) that are affected by these tragedies.
A typical household contains numerous materials and devices which present serious hazards from a fire safety perspective. Electrical goods, TV sets and, particularly, polyurethane foam filled furniture are often at the origin or fast development of fires. Not to mention kitchen fires.
High flammability domestic items
Sadly, consumers are often unaware of the dangers and the high flammability of most of these domestic items. For example, once alight, a sofa filled with polyurethane foam burns so quickly, releasing such a large amount of toxic fumes and heat, that the occupants of the house have as little as two to three minutes to escape. We can all imagine the desperate circumstances of such an event, particularly when it occurs during the night or when children or elderly people are involved. The picture is even bleaker if there is not a functioning smoke alarm in the home, which is sadly often the case.
Against this background the European Fire Safety Alliance seeks to raise awareness about these domestic hazards and will campaign for the introduction and enforcement of all necessary measures to both:
- Reduce the risk of fire in the home, and
- Ensure that if a domestic fire does occur, people become aware rapidly so that they have time to safely escape before a fire reaches life threatening proportions.