31 January 2020
Today, the written answer from the European Commission to the Parliamentary question tabled by MEPs Pernille Weiss, Theresa Griffin and Sean Kelly has been officially published. In its response to MEPs, the European Commission stressed the importance of the role of the Fire Information Exchange Platform and the importance to prevent fires especially via its Recommendations of Building Renovation (Commission Recommendation (EU) 2019/786).
Question for written answer E-003627/2019 to the Commission Rule 138
Theresa Griffin, Seán Kelly, Pernille Weiss
Subject: Fire prevention and detection
Commission recommendation (EU) 2019/786 of 8 May 2019 on building renovation stressed the important role of fire prevention and detection.
The fire safety strategy in buildings is first to prevent fires, and second to avoid exposure to smoke. Residential smoke alarms detect fires as early as possible, give occupants sufficient time to react and have saved thousands of lives. Smoke alarms are Construction Products Regulation (CPR) products and are third-party certified to the EN146042 standard, a requirement for all products in the EU.
Correct installation and maintenance of residential smoke alarms can further improve their performance and specific installation and maintenance requirements exist in six Member States.
Currently, over 4 000 EU citizens die each year in residential fires and over 70 000 sustain smoke inhalation or burn injuries. But less than half of the Member States currently require smoke alarms to be installed in residential buildings.
- Can the Commission ensure that all EU citizens benefit from smoke alarms?
- Which technical means are in place to encourage Member States to ensure that alarm installation standards are adhered to?
Answer given by Mr Breton on behalf of the European Commission (30.1.2020)
- Under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, fire safety (including fire detection) in buildings falls under exclusive competence of the Member States. This is in line with the subsidiarity principle.
- Under the regulatory landscape described above the Commission is not in a position to propose legislative initiatives about the installation and use of smoke detection alarms and about their installation.
However, the Commission has found two paths through which it informally promoted fire safety, which encompasses the issue of smoke alarms and their installation:
- In order to facilitate the exchange of experience and the best practices in the area of fire safety the Commission has set up the Fire Information Exchange Platform (FIEP). The participation to FIEP is from Member States’ authorities, construction industry, rescue services and non-governmental oganisations, and it covers almost 100 participants. After the creation of the FIEP (at the end of 2017) it has convened twice as a plenary meeting and three times in smaller more focused compositions (so-called project teams).
- In 2019 the Commission issued a Recommendation on building renovation (Commission Recommendation (EU) 2019/786). The Recommendation emphasises the fact that the renovation of buildings aiming to improve their energy performance could be used as an opportunity to improve the fire safety of the existing building stock at the same time. This could include the installation of smoke alarms and detection equipment.