Members of the European Parliament stand up to advance fire safety in Europe
21 June 2018
Yesterday, a group of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) submitted a very promising pilot project proposal on fire safety to the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). This project tabled as an amendment for the EU budget 2019 aims to mend the data gaps on fire statistics and to pave the way for a pan-European fire safety awareness campaign. The Modern Building Alliance fully supports this initiative, which will give the EU and national governments the opportunity to better identify the most effective fire safety measures.
Led by Danish MEP Bendt Bendtsen from the European People’s Party (EPP) and supported by 23 other MEPs across most political groups (from EPP, S&D, ECR, ALDE and the greens), the proposal would fund an EU-wide analysis and assessment of available fire safety statistics and result in two important sets of recommendations.
Firstly, the pilot project would allow to identify possible European actions to support enhanced data collection and streamlining in statistics on fire casualties, fire safety and fire prevention.
“Data on fire casualties and fire safety is widely fragmented across Europe. The pilot project should map and fix the data gaps and pave the way for improved fire safety awareness and fire prevention in Member States” explained Bendt Bendtsen. He added “Thankfully the rate of fire fatalities is dropping in Europe for the past decades. We would like to keep that trend going, and to help our national governments in their fire prevention efforts.” Quentin de Hults, Executive Chair of the Modern Building Alliance agreed: “Fire safety is a joint responsibility but understanding the key risk factors is essential to identify effective actions”. To learn more about fire safety statistics in Europe, check out our dedicated page on this website.
Secondly, the pilot project would also recommend EU-level actions to support fire safety and fire prevention efforts of Member States into the domestic environment, turning into a possible pan-European fire safety awareness campaign. Efforts to prevent development and consequences of fires requires building occupants to understand which safety precautions or emergency actions need to be taken. Targeted awareness campaigns can ensure that all occupants are familiar with the appropriate behaviour to prevent fire and their consequences.
Mike Hagen, Chair of the European Fire Safety Alliance (EuroFSA ) and professional UK fire officer for over 33 years said, “The European Fire Safety Alliance welcomes the proposal for this project to collect European fire data, which will provide strong evidence of the risk from fire for European citizens and be a powerful force to inform pan-European fire safety efforts.” Chris Addiers, President of FEU, the Federation of EU Fire Officers Associations, added that “the proposal is relevant and timely, as the clear majority of fire-related injuries are preventable through appropriate risk reduction measures.”
The pilot project proposal is also a relevant follow up to the new European Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), just published in the Official Journal of the Union. “The revised buildings directive gives real momentum to the renovation of Europe's buildings, and this will be a golden opportunity to improve fire safety for our European citizens at the same time” said Bendt Bendtsen. Renovation efforts indeed present an added opportunity to further improve fire safety, while this issue remains relevant in a context spanning further than renovations.
The pilot project should also complement and support any initiatives by the newly established Fire Information Exchange Platform (FIEP) by the European Commission, to which the Modern Building Alliance is also contributing.
The ITRE Committee will vote on 10 July. If approved, the proposal will be sent to the Budgets Committee of the European Parliament. The Modern Building Alliance and its members invite all MEPs to support this amendment and this initiative which will strengthen the EU commitment to fire safety and support a breakthrough in fire statistics and prevention.