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Euralarm Task Group extends residential fire safety-focused database

28 November 2022

LAST YEAR, Euralarm’s Task Group on Domestic Life Safety was reactivated and began its work on examining the important issue of fire safety in the domestic environment. During the recent European Fire Safety Week, which focused on citizen safety at the heart of the energy transition, Task Group chair Thorsten Teichert spoke about the progress that has been made.

Why did the Task Group resume its work again? The answer is a simple one. In addition to 5,000 deaths per year due to residential fires, more than 2.7 million individuals end up in Emergency Departments due to the impact of fire.

Aside from fire, people are also exposed to other risks in their homes. Carbon monoxide poisoning from malfunctioning burners in boilers is one example. Further, in recent years homes have become increasingly ‘intelligent’ due to the emergence of new technology, but some of that technology can be dangerous from a fire safety perspective.

Research has shown that, three decades ago, residents had 17 minutes to escape their homes in the event of a fire. As today’s homes – and the furniture within them – tend to burn at a faster rate, that escape time is now only a few minutes.

Looking at the theme of the European Fire Safety Week, with the ‘Renovation Wave’ travelling across Europe to realise a climate-neutral building stock, it’s now of the utmost importance that fire safety measures are integrated within the directives guiding this development.

Useful database

To properly ensure domestic life safety, be it fire safety or protection against carbon monoxide poisoning poisoning, it’s necessary to develop and nurture a good overview of all related standards.

On that note, Thorsten Teichert explained: “Over the past year, we have fully updated the database with information about standards, legislation, national application guidelines and statistical data focused on residential buildings. The database now covers all European Union Member States as well as the EEA states (ie Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and other affiliated or associated states, among them Switzerland and the UK.”

Teichert continued: “The database is not only targeted at smoke alarms, but also carbon monoxide alarms. That makes it somewhat more difficult to populate, of course, simply because some countries don’t have data available on the latter. There are even data available on the causes of domestic fires in the Nordic countries. This could also become part of the database, but this would require an extension. A decision on whether or how intensively we will look at the statistics on fires, fire injuries and fire deaths in 2023 has not yet been made.”

According to Teichert, the major challenge now is the diversity of the available data. “One year ago,” he noted, “we started by gathering data and updating the database. Thanks to the work that everybody has done and the collaboration between all group members, we’ve succeeded in that task. We now have to decide what our next steps will be and decide if we’re able to make steps forward at present considering the time that our members have available to them.”

European Fire Safety Week

The Euralarm Task Group actively supported the European Fire Safety Week that ran from 14-17 November. The last day of the European Fire Safety Week was designated as the Smoke Alarm Day.

Although the type of – and extent of requirements around – smoke alarm in use tends to vary across countries and regions, smoke alarms are mandatory in residential housing in the UK, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, the Netherlands, France, Ireland, Austria, Belgium and Germany.

To promote the regular checking of smoke alarms, it’s the Nordic countries who organise the Smoke Alarm Day.

It’s a valuable initiative that Euralarm is happy to support. “The Domestic Life Safety Task Group is actively involved in the preparation of part of the programme,” explained Teichert. “Both the European Fire Safety Alliance and the Domestic Life Safety Task Group are involved in raising awareness on the topic of fire safety and influencing stakeholders to make the right decisions when it comes to legislation.”

Leadership and expertise

As an organisation, Euralarm represents the electronic fire and security industries, providing leadership and expertise for these sectors, their markets, policy-makers and standards bodies.

Euralarm’s members serve to make society safer and more secure through the provision of systems and services aimed at fire detection and extinguishing, intrusion detection, access control, video monitoring and alarm.

Founded back in 1970, Euralarm now represents over 5,000 companies within the fire safety and security industries valued at circa 67 billion Euros. Its members are national associations and individual companies emanating from across Europe.

*More information is available online at www.euralarm.org