2016 Highlights Key Achievements Towards a Fire Safe Future
2016 has been a key year at Fire Safe Europe where we collaborated with partners, experts and policy-makers to launch our case for a Fire Safety Strategy.
We could not be more grateful for the expertise, advice, and information that we received from all the experts with whom we worked. Exchanging and learning from firefighters, scientists, engineers, and EU organisations who assessed and gave us feedback enhanced and strengthened our work.
In 2017 we hope to see the EU take bolder initiatives towards building a fire safe Europe. In this last newsletter of the year, we would like to share with you successful initiatives from our partners.
Belgian Firefighters Campaign to Limit Cancer Risks
The fire is out, the danger is out? Not for firefighters: harmful substances stick to their equipment and can be absorbed by skin. As a result, cancer affects firefighters more than the general public.
The awareness campaign launched by several unions in Belgium highlights this danger and gives advice to limit the risk of cancer, asking firefighters to:
Make sure they wear adequate protection equipment when going on an intervention
Make sure they clean their intervention equipment
Not clean their equipment at home to prevent contamination
Eric Labourdette, Head of the Brussels fire department and President of the “intervention zone” sector of the SLFP (Belgium civil servants union), tells us about the launch of their campaign:
“On 1 December 2016, we organized a press conference to raise awareness both amongst firefighters and employers on the dangers of harmful substances which stay on firefighterâ€™s intervention equipment and can cause cancers. Research has shown that many firefighters suffer from cancer, not only because of the interventions but also because of these harmful substances which stay on their equipment and are then absorbed by the skin. The Minister of interior and the Minister of employment and well-being at work congratulated the unions for this awareness campaign.”
112 – The Phone Number that Saves Lives
Less than half of EU-citizens know that 112 can be dialled in case of emergency anywhere in Europe.
Emergency calls are not located accurately enough. This may result in a considerable loss of time and have disastrous effects when a fire occurs.
Public authorities are not able to efficiently inform the citizens about ongoing fires or upcoming threats.
We interviewed Benoit Vivier to learn more about the 112 number and EENA’s work. We found out that in 2016, EENA has developed the Advanced Mobile Location (AML) system which has already saved many lives, and could save a lot more in 2017.
This year, FSEU brought together an unprecedented coalition of fire experts,including firefighters, engineers, researchers, industry associations, who call on the EU to develop a Fire Safety Strategy.
Why? Because with at least 5000 fire incidents occurring each day in Europe, fire safety in buildings is a major societal and safety issue. There is no policy coordination for fire safety in buildings, and fire safety is not yet part of the equation of EU policy-making.
Why does it matter? As you can see in our video below, the chances of survival in a fire are affected by the fire conditions in the building. Member States regulate differently on fire safety, which means European citizens do not have the same chances of survival when a building catches fire. We want to balance the odds.
Water your Christmas tree! A dry tree can easily catch on fire.
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About Fire Safe Europe
Fire Safe Europe (FSEU) is a broad and unique cross-sectorial alliance of fire experts, fire fighters, European associations, and international companies, including construction manufacturers and material suppliers of insulation, cable, concrete, ceiling, and fire protection equipment.
FSEUâ€™s mission is to improve fire safety in buildings for European citizens.