The killing fumes in building fires. Why should smoke toxicity from building materials be tested?

Jun 30, 2015 | News, Smoke Toxicity

European Parliament, Brussels | 30th June 2015

Fire safety experts, health specialists and fire fighters called on the European Union to take urgent action on fire smoke toxicity testing.

Fires in European buildings cause over 4000 deaths and 70000 hospitalisations per year, and more than half of those deaths are caused not by the fire directly but by its smoke.

“Fire smoke contains a lethal cocktail of toxicants, yet there are no European regulations or testing protocols covering the smoke toxicity of construction materials,” reported Prof. Richard Hull, fire toxicity expert from the University of Central Lancashire, at a high-level meeting of fire safety experts organised by Fire Safe Europe, the European Fire Fighters Union Alliance and MEPs Pavel Poc and Christel Schaldemose.

“Lives are being unnecessarily put at risk by failing to address this issue,” said Mr Poc. “The inhalation of fire smoke causes chronic long-term health problems and is the tragic cause of far too many deaths in building fires.”

Mrs Schaldemose added: “The mechanism is already in place to introduce smoke toxicity testing for construction materials, so it is an unprecedented opportunity for the EU to take coordinated action on this issue.”

Deadly fumes also make the work of fire fighters highly dangerous. “Toxic smoke from these products is not only putting our health at risk — it’s also preventing us from saving the lives of others,” said Tommy Kjaer of the European Fire Fighters Union Alliance. “Europe’s politicians need to address this issue urgently.”

“As medical doctors, we do our best to save lives and we have European guidelines for it” added Marc Sabbe, professor in emergency and disaster medicine at the Catholic University of Leuven, “but there should be European guidelines to prevent deaths too”.

REMAIN UP TO DATE - Join our newsletter!

Newsletter
Find more about how we manage your privacy details in our privacy policy page.

The next chapter for fire safety in buildings starts now

Get ready, the next chapter for fire safety in buildings in Europe starts now. And we want you to be a part of it. Join in and let’s continue to work together to ensure that fire safety is high on the agenda of the newly elected European Parliament.

Romanian Coalition for Fire Safety conference: key takeaways

On May 7, The Romanian Coalition for Fire Safety held a conference on fire safety in buildings. Several Representatives from the Romanian Government gave updates on their efforts regarding fire safety legislation. Fire Safe Europe presented its #Together4FireSafety campaign.

Fire safety highlighted in the EPBD recommendations

On May 16 2019, the European Commission published its Recommendations on how EU countries should implement the building renovation aspects of the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). Several recommendations cover fire safety.

FSEU’s recipe to convert EU decision-makers to better fire safety

Fire Safe Europe took part in the fruitful exchanges between stakeholders at the second Fire-In project, annual Dissemination Workshop and gave attendees two essential tools to be heard by EU decision-makers.

FSEU webinar – Learning from fires with Dr. Vyto Babrauskas

On May 16, 2019 Dr. Babrauskas presented three suggested solutions on how to learn from past fire incidents in a systematic way. Click here to learn what these solutions are.

Pin It on Pinterest