15 organizations, representing experts from different corners of Europe, are calling the European Institutions and Member States to work on a European Fire Safety Strategy that delivers a coordinated approach to fire safety.
Why? Because we believe in improving fire safety in buildings for everyone, whether they live in or visit the European Union. 90% of our time is spent in buildings. By securing a safer built environment we will positively impact the economy, the environment, health and wellbeing for the whole society. This can only be achieved through a coordinated approach to fire safety at EU-level.
Building fires affect people: There are at least 5,000 fire incidents each day in the EU, and many affect families and communities, sometimes for life. Each year in Europe, approximately 70,000 people are admitted to hospitals with severe fire-related injuries. Worldwide, children make up 30% of injuries and fatalities caused by fire. Firefighters are heavily impacted, with up to 14 different types of cancer affecting them more than the general public.
Building fires affect the environment: Fires cause massive amounts of air pollution. They deplete materials and increase carbon emissions, a major challenge for sustainable resource management. We believe that to be sustainable, buildings need to be fire resilient. They should not burn down or suffer major damage from fire.
Building fires have a cost: €126 billion is eaten up by fire damage each year. For European countries, it is 1% of their GDP. Fire can lead to major infrastructure, data and stock loss, less productivity, staff unemployment, and even bankruptcy.
Our buildings are changing: New building designs often feature open spaces, with less barriers such as doors and walls, and use new construction methods. Buildings are increasingly highly insulated and airtight, with more combustibles within the building envelope and structure. There are also more combustible materials in our furniture and other content. These changes cause fires in buildings to grow faster than ever before and become more hazardous. Unless fire performance is considered a core part of sustainability, the buildings of the future will be less resilient to their oldest threat – fire!
Together we can make a difference: EU Member States can cooperate on Fire Safety. The European Commission can coordinate with its directorates – from Justice to Education to Energy and more – to establish a European Fire Safety Strategy which will enable European countries to: