Europe must tackle fatal fire safety flaws

Dec 8, 2014 | News

More than 4000 people are killed by fire every year in Europe, and improved EU-wide building fire safety regulations are urgently needed to save lives, according to a White Paper recently issued by Fire Safe Europe (FSEU).

The White Paper was launched in Brussels to coincide with meetings between Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and firefighters from the European Fire Fighters Unions Alliance (EFFUA), who are campaigning to improve fire safety in buildings for European citizens.

The Irish Fire and Emergency Services Association (IFESA) is a member of the European Fire Fighters Unions Alliance, and its chairman John Kidd was in Brussels for the launch of the White Paper.

“These days it seems we are fighting buildings on fire not fires in buildings,” said Mikael Svanberg of the EFFUA, a fire officer with 25 years of experience. “Fires are now more unpredictable, bigger and more dangerous while buildings are more complicated and modern construction materials are not necessarily fire safe. I
no longer know what to expect when I’m called to a fire and I’m taking more risks.”

Czech Republic MEP Pavel Poc said: “We urgently need to take action to save lives. We spend 90 per cent of our time in buildings – homes, offices and schools – and this is where 90 per cent of fires occur.

“The loss of 4,000 lives every year is unacceptable but in addition to these tragedies nearly 200 people every day are hospitalised due to smoke and fire while the risks facing our firefighters continue to escalate.”

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