EU Pilot project on fire safety
On the 19th November 2019, the European Commission has launched the public tender that mentions: "The aim of the contract is to map the terminology used and the data collected by the EU Member States regarding fire events and to propose a common terminology and a method to collect the necessary data in each EU Member State with a view to obtain meaningful data sets (based on standardised terms and definitions). This in turn would allow for knowledge-based decisions regarding fire safety at MS and at EU level regarding buildings fires (i.e. houses, apartment blocks, office buildings, commercial buildings, hospitals, schools and kindergartens, elderly homes, etc.). The pilot project could lead to a potential subsequent preparatory action to launch EU-level actions and initiatives to support Member States' efforts for fire safety and fire prevention, including in their building renovation efforts, thereby supporting safety for Europeans as well as sustainable growth and job creation in Europe."
In June 2018, a group of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) submitted a 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[i].
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)[ii], the proposal was adopted in September 2018 and will fund an EU-wide analysis and assessment of available fire safety statistics.
Data are essential to identify risk factors and most effective fire prevention measures; however, EU-wide statistics are lacking.
The Modern Building Alliance fully supports this pilot project which will strengthen the EU commitment to fire safety and will give the EU and national governments the opportunity to better identify the most effective fire safety measures.
The pilot project will complement and support the newly established Fire Information Exchange Platform (FIEP) by the European Commission, to which the Modern Building Alliance is also contributing.
The pilot project will 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 and understanding the key risk factors is essential to identify effective actions”.
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 this pilot 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 pilot project is relevant and timely, as the clear majority of fire-related injuries are preventable through appropriate risk reduction measures.”
The pilot project is also a relevant follow up to the new European Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), adopted in 2018 by the European Union and now being implemented in Member States. “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.
In November 2018, Bendt Bendtsen and Theresa Griffin MEP, another supporter of the pilot project, hosted our roundtable on fire safety in the European Parliament . At that occasion EuroFSA presented a first report  on fatal residential fires in Europe that can serve as a basis for the pilot project.
This pilot project is a concrete initiative taken by Members of the European parliament for EU citizens.
[i] Access the full text of the amendment following this link (upload on website)
[ii] Full list of supporting MEPs: Bendt Bendtsen (DK, EPP), Karl-Heinz Florenz (DE, EPP), Peter Liese (DE, EPP), Jiří Pospíšil (CZ, EPP), Ivo Belet (BE, EPP), Seán Kelly (IE, ALDE), Luděk, Niedermayer (CZ, EPP), Siegfried Mureşan (RO, EPP), Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (FI, S&D), Theresa Griffin (UK, S&D), Martina Werner (DE, S&D), Jude Kirton-Darling (UK, S&D), Clare Moody (UK, S&D), Pavel Poc (CZ, S&D), Anneleen Van Bossuyt (BE, ECR), Morten Helveg Petersen (DK, ALDE), Anneli Jäätteenmäki (FI, ALDE), Florent Marcellesi (ES, Greens/EFA), Jakop Dalunde (SE, Greens/EFA), Bart Staes (BE, Greens/EFA), Benedek Jávor (HU, Greens/EFA), Keith Taylor (UK, Greens/EFA), Jean Lambert (UK, Greens/EFA), Reinhard Bütikofer (DE, Greens/EFA) and Margrete Auken (DK, Greens/EFA).
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