Dennis Davis at the European Commission Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and Small Medium Sized Enterprises
18 Sep 2018

Third DG GROW meeting in Brussels focused on domestic fire safety

Fire Prevention
Communication Group
CTIF information for Associate Members
Current Affairs in Fire & Rescue

CTIF participated with over 30 organizations and governments in the EU Commission’s Fire Information Exchange Platform project. Held in Brussels, the project is looking at domestic fire safety. FIEP intends to produce a guide to aid fire safety activities in Member States.

On Friday September 14th, CTIF participated in the meeting European Commission Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and Small Medium Sized Enterprises, also called DG GROW.

DG GROW has organised three project team meetings on fire safety so far, and this was the second that CTIF has attended.

 

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This meeting was focused on domestic fire safety, and the CTIF presentation, held by CTIF special adviser  Dennis Davis, concentrated on the effect of indoor sprinkers.

Taina Hanhikoski from Finland, another CTIF Europe member, was there representing SPECK - the Finnish Rescue Board, and made a presentation of their campaigns.

"The idea is to build a guide for fire safety activities that Member states can use", says Dennis Davis to CTIF News.

Dennis Davis Powerpoint Presentation can be downloaded below in this article.

 

DG GROW

 

Below follows a meeting report by Dennis Davis:

 

Background

The Fire Information Exchange Platform (FIEP) initiative was launched mid 2018 by the European Commission DG GROW Unit C1. It has developed 3 project teams to consider various aspects of fire safety. Team 1 considers fire safety lessons learnt, Team 2 regulation of new products and tall buildings, and this meeting related to Team 3 domestic fire safety.

The Commission’s introduction to Project Team 3 (PT3) on 14 September 2018 was given by the Unit Head in which she stressed DG GROW the EU Commission’s view that PT3 should concentrate on the importance of domestic fire safety with the objective of producing a report outlining guidance on conducting fire prevention campaigns aimed at domestic occupiers. The campaign guide would be promoted with Member States and FRS to drive fire safety in the domestic markets. The initial proposal also included a plenary session, possibly to be held on the 23 November, although this has yet to be confirmed. Input to the report, for which a technical editor has already been appointed, is required by close of play on 24 September 2018.

As might be anticipated many fire related organisations were represented by 36 attendees across a spectrum of interests; they included Berlin FRS, DFV, VFB, Insurance Europe, German Federal Gov., Fire Safe Europe, Danish Construction and Emergency Ministries, Frankfurt FRS, EU Firefighters Union, Estonia Gov. Rescue Board and Law, Greek Gov. Environment, French SIDIS, Antwerp FRS and Burns Charity, Netherlands Gov. Justice, Austrian Gov. Construction, EU Electrical Apparatus., Euralarm, Romania Gov. fire safety, EU Construction Alliance, Finland Gov., CTIF, Portugal Gov., C-FPA.

 

Meeting

The meeting format was an agenda that composed of example campaigns, programmes and initiatives that had already introduced in cities and Member States from which the report of what could and perhaps should be done by Member States might be developed. In that regard the approach was assembly of practical content rather than strategic initiatives. The presentations were interesting and produced questions and commentary. Less clear was how the content from this substantial body of information would be organised although DG GROW suggested themes around domestic fires – candles, cooking, etc. – or groups – students, elderly, etc. – and in that context leaflets, programmes, campaign content had been requested. One strategic view however was a commitment by EuroFsa, FEU and CTIF (fire unions, fire chiefs and firefighters)to work together to improve EU citizen fire safety.

CTIF made a presentation based on the British experience particularly aimed at the ‘hard to reach’ and those socially vulnerable using automatic domestic sprinklers rather than attempt to capture the vast range of CTIF member’s existing activities. Two examples being the presentation by Taina Hanhikoski of Finland’s SPEK (who also represents Finland in CTIF) and providing leaflets from the UK government Fire Safety website, which effectively explained the variety and quality of fire safety work existing amongst members.

Estonia presented its campaign aimed at reducing life loss to 12 persons pa (equivalent to 0.9 fire death rate in the population). The use of a digital signature sign off for industrial self-inspections attracted specific interest as did the use of local authority contracted services for domestic chimney and electrical apparatus inspection.

CFPA presented its guides, of which 40 of the 50 issued relate to fire safety, and mentioned some Member FPA offered eLearning. The elderly where the risk of fire death to the over 80’s is estimated at 10-20 times higher than younger people was a focal point as was the highlighted issue of smoke detector ownership which is above 75% in northern Europe but much lower in the south. A non-domestic example given was hot work where a Nordic CFPA campaign had produced a significant reduction in fires from 20% to 4% in Sweden when an insurance deduction was made if craftsmen attended an 8 hour hot work training course.

EuroFsa the firefighters unions concentrated on the fact that in Germany only 2 of the 12 states now do not require smoke detectors and that in buildings over 5 floors but lower than 22m heat and smoke extraction in common stairs is now required; above 22m specific fire standards are required.

The European Fire Safety Alliance presented statistics across Europe on causes of fire highlighting the differences and similarities in causes of domestic fires. The plea was for unified data and to drive fire safety in furniture and smoke detectors in living areas. The data did not show any impact from RIP cigarettes.

The electrical interest, ECI, presented a data study involving FEU and a White Paper resulting from a member survey leading towards a goal of reducing fires from electrical apparatus.

As mentioned Finland introduced their programmes for community fire safety; these included a Burnometer, to check preparedness, a Fire Safety Week that starts with a fire station family day, 72hour, a programme designed to aid preparation to last 72 hours out of home, and a new BeFIRESAFE@SCHOOL EU Erasmus programme.

Frankfurt FRS related their current experience with youth programmes. In the presentation mention was made of the 10 common failures found in nearly all fire safety inspections and that in Germany after Grenfell a ‘federal’ leaflet was produced offering advice to residents

A FRS school programme in Antwerp Flanders concentrating on groups of 15 youngsters at a time emphasised that in part it tried to reach their parents, useful with migrant groups, and concentrated upon interaction with video reality, all aimed at making children active (fire safety) partners.

Unfortunately the meeting overran and not all presentations were seen and heard so the comments above are incomplete. All presentations and the PT3 conclusions will however be made available on a dedicated website.

 
Dennis Davis