European Parliament, Brussels | 2nd May 2016
Croatian firefighters called on EU policy makers to take action and guarantee fire safety of firefighters and citizens. The delegation of firefighters met at the European Parliament with MEPs, European Commission officials and representatives from national and European firefighting associations, to discuss fire safety issues from a firefighter’s perspective and examine what EU institutions are doing to guarantee fire safety. The high-level discussion was organised by the Croatian MEP Marijana Petir and Fire Safe Europe.
“Volunteer firefighters are a real example of what kind of people we need to be – saving people and property, giving their best for others, without any compensation, often giving up their free time to help those in need”, said MEP Petir. “Being a volunteer firefighter myself, I know the challenges and difficulties all firefighters are facing. They are a valuable part of our societies and the EU has the responsibility to protect their health and safety like they protect all of us.”
Officials from the European Commission’s DG GROW and DG EMPL presented their initiatives to safeguard firefighters and citizens health and fire safety. Mr. Stjepan Ptiček, Deputy President of the Croatian Firefighter Association, provided background on national fire safety issues and best practices that should be shared across Europe. Mr. Chris Addiers, President of the Federation of the European Union Fire Officer Associations (FEU) and chief fire officer of the Fire Brigade of Antwerp, provided information on firefighters’ organisation and on their initiatives on occupational health across Europe. Anđelka Toto Ormuž, member of Fire Safe Europe, presented the association’s call for a fire safety strategy and raised concerns about how EU fire safety regulations should address fire smoke hazards.
“The European Union has an obligation to guarantee fire safety of its citizens, wherever they are. Fires are the same all across Europe, but Member States’ regulations are dangerously diverse”, reminded Toto Ormuž. “With our built environment evolving at an unprecedented rate, the EU needs a strategy to ensure a holistic approach to fire safety in buildings”.
On March 3rd, the delegation of Croatian firefighters visited the Brussels firefighters’ headquarters and meet with representatives of Compartment Fire Behaviour Training (CFBT), an international organisation for firefighters to share knowledge and participate in training on internal firefighting.