EU Fire Information Exchange Platform meets to take stock of progress and define next steps
The Fire Information Exchange Platform (FIEP) was created in 2017 by the European Commission to facilitate the exchange of information and best practices between Member States and stakeholders regarding fire safety. At the plenary meeting which was held on February 27, 2019, Member States, European Commission officials and associations took stock of the progress made and outlined the next steps for the platform.
The agenda of the meeting included reports of findings of the FIEP Project Teams; an explanation of who does what regarding fire in the European Commission; presentations on future work regarding fire data and the introduction of fire engineering approach in building regulations; updates on the development of a European façade fire assessment approach, on European commission activities regarding the occupational health risks of fire-fighters and on the implementation of the new EPBD in relation to fire safety. Three Member States also took the floor and the results of a Member States questionnaire on fire safety were presented.
Fire Safe Europe was present at the plenary meeting, along with over 80 participants. Most EU Members States and three European Commission Directorate Generals (DGs) were represented. Several national and European associations, together with firefighters, also attended. The Plenary was an all-day event set in a constructive atmosphere, and whilst the European Commission emphasised the need for Member States to take a stronger role, the plenary showed a significant interest of Member States for the work of the platform.
3 Member states also took the floor and the results of a Member States questionnaire on fire safety were presented. Since its first meeting, where five cooperation areas were identified, the FIEP has begun to work on three of these cooperation areas in project teams, namely on exchange of information for fire accidents (Project Team 1), new products and high-rise buildings (Project Team 2), and the application of fire prevention principles (Project Team 3). These three project teams all held their first meeting in 2018.
The February 27 FIEP plenary meeting reported on the main outputs from those project team meetings. Overall, three key ideas emerged from these project teams:
- Information needs to be exchanged
- Education is paramount
- Firefighters’ expertise must be taken into account
The European Commission DG GROWTH asked Member States to volunteer to take the lead of these three project teams. The European Commission also announced the launch in 2019 of the remaining two FIEP project teams: Project Team 4 on data collection, which will benefit from the European Parliament’s support to fund an EU-wide analysis and assessment of available fire safety data and data gaps, and should also address the lack of data on smoke toxicity, and Project Team 5 on the application of fire engineering approach, which will be launched in July by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC)
The FIEP plenary was the occasion to point out that 10 entities in the European Commission are working in one way or another on fire safety. The FIEP is a great opportunity for these entities to work holistically together with Member States to improve fire safety for people and society. Two of those, DG ENER and DG JRC participated in the meeting, whilst DG EMPL sent a written contribution.
Discover which units work on fire safety: https://twitter.com/FireSafeEU/status/1100698512700903424
The European Commission also took the opportunity to updated Member States on several important dossiers related to fire safety, namely the development of a European facades fire assessment approach, the issue of occupational health risks for firefighters, on which EU-OSHA is working, and the implementation of the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive in relation to the two articles which include fire safety.
Three Member States (Estonia, Sweden and Portugal) also presented on fire safety initiative which are taking place in their countries.
Finally, the technical secretariat of the FIEP, Efectis, analysed the result of a survey which was addressed to Member States with the aim to understand if and how Member States have changed their regulations regarding fire safety, and what are the main challenge they aim to address.