A presentation of the position of Euralarm as a representative of the electronic fire safety and security Industry took place during the launch conference of the EU’s Fire Information Exchange Platform (FIEP), an initiative announced by the European Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska during a plenary meeting at the European Parliament.
Since 1970, Euralarm has worked intensively with stakeholders in the areas of policy, regulations, standards and guidelines towards keeping Europe safe from fires. This has saved an estimated 100’000 lives in Europe. Together with over 20 national associations and all the major suppliers, Euralarm will continue this work.
Events as consistent reality
Despite these activities, major fire events are a consistent reality in commercial, industrial and residential buildings. Three key areas contribute to this. First, people have a tendency to ‘let down their guard’ when threats become rare events.
Secondly, the importance of regular fire safety reviews by certified professionals are often overseen and not sufficiently prioritised by private and public building owners, who are now the first to be accountable as result of a move towards de-regulation.
Finally, fire loads in buildings have grown considerably due to modern furnishings, increase in the number of electrical/electronic devices as well as exterior wall insulation. The latter has made constructions more energy efficient, but installation processes and certain materials have contributed significantly to a building’s fire load. Also, modern furnishings can reduce the reaction and evacuation times over earlier years.
To continue the effort to keep Europe fire safe Euralarm calls for the following measures:
1. A holistic approach towards achieving and maintaining fire safety that covers:
- The building structure and its contents must be considered as to how they contribute to the overall fire load as well as how they can hinder and restrain a fire event.
- Technical means to provide early detection and evacuation of the building coupled with extinguishing.
- Organisational plans on what is to be done in such an event and who is responsible to execute what measures.
2. Qualifications of the people and companies that define the (holistic) fire safety concept, design/engineer the solution, install and commission such and finally those maintaining the systems must be in line with the recently released EN 16763 Services Standard for Fire Safety Systems and Security Systems.
3. A pan-European data collection of fire events is required. Euralarm has completed a 3 year study of several countries and concluded that a European approach is greatly needed. A European Norm based on the knowledge derived from the Euralarm report would advance this effort, allowing all to quantify and qualify the problem, but also define corrective measures.