Calls for better coordination in fire safety initiatives to support EU Green Deal goals

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Prominent organisations urge for a structured coordination in fire safety regulations and initiatives

A broad coalition of fire safety organisations, led by Krzysztof Biskup, Chair of the European Fire Safety Alliance, has penned an open letter to EU Vice President Frans Timmermans. The alliance advocates for improved coordination of fire safety initiatives across the European Union (EU), asserting that this will bolster the objectives of the EU Green Deal.

Fire safety’s integral role in EU Green Deal

The group highlights the critical role of fire safety in various EU policies and Green Deal initiatives. “Fire safety of buildings is a national competence, it is impacted by and impacts many EU policies,” the letter stated. The current fire safety challenges in the EU are grave, with an estimated 5,000 deaths and a much higher number of injuries from residential fires each year.

The coalition emphasises that a holistic approach to fire safety should accompany the energy transition. This is crucial considering the introduction of new materials, products, and technologies, each with unique risks that require updated safety measures and regulations.

Fire safety and the energy transition

Currently, electrical fires account for 25-30% of residential fires, a figure that might be adversely affected by obsolete electrical installations and inadequate fire safety rules as the EU pushes for greener solutions like solar panels and electric vehicles. New construction methods and materials aimed at improving the environmental profile of buildings can also clash with existing fire safety rules.

This mismatch in safety regulations and green technology could both slow the deployment of decarbonising solutions and potentially lead to new types of fire accidents.

Fire safety and other EU objectives

Fire safety ties in closely with several other EU objectives. As the letter mentions, the New European Bauhaus initiative and commitments to tackle energy poverty are areas that intersect with fire safety. The alliance thus underlines the need for a comprehensive approach to fire safety.

Call for coordinated action

The letter calls on the European Commission to establish a structural coordination of all policy initiatives impacting or related to fire safety across European buildings. This coordination should cut across Directorate Generals, involve best practice sharing, and align fire safety with the objectives of the EU Green Deal.

Fire safety is currently addressed in several EU initiatives, but these are often developed in silos and would benefit from better coordination for enhanced effectiveness and to better achieve the EU’s goals.

The coalition offers to support this work and has listed relevant initiatives they have identified in an annex. The alliance of signatory organisations now eagerly anticipates a response from the European Commission.

Read the letter in full

The letter can be found in full by clicking here.

The letter was signed by 17 organisations: European Fire Safety Alliance, International Association for Fire Safety Science, Society of Fire Protection Engineers, Forum for European Electrical Domestic Safety, European Copper Institute, ANEC, European Fire Sprinkler Network, European Association for Passive Fire Protection, Europacable, Modern Building Alliance, Fire Safe Europe, Euralarm, Phosphorus, Inorganic and Nitrogen Flame Retardants Association, BSEF, EUROLUX, Council of Gas Detection and Environmental Monitoring, Concrete Europe, and European Society for Automatic Alarm Systems.

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