Why Fire Safe Europe?
Fires in buildings are now bigger, more unpredictable and more dangerous than ever. Many regulatory requirements around fire safety in buildings are outdated and do not provide an adequate level of fire protection. Fire Safe Europe aims to change this status quo by working with experts and policy makers to ensure that people and communities across Europe remain safe from fire in every building they spend time in.
What does Fire Safe Europe do?
Fire Safe Europe is the main European association advocating for better standards and regulations from national governments and the EU to improve fire safety in buildings. Through its communication campaigns, Fire Safe Europe raises awareness amongst policy makers and their influencers about fire safety in buildings. With its European Fire Safety Community of 800+ members, Fire Safe Europe allows experts to connect, share knowledge and collaborate to improve fire safety in buildings. The Community brings together experts such as architects, researchers, fire engineers, associations, policymakers, firefighters and companies. It aims to be the European center for expertise, networking, and resources on fire safety in buildings.
Fire Safe Europe works on different aspects of fire safety in buildings: legislation about construction products, facades, sustainability; fire safety data; and fire research. Today Fire Safe Europe is also working to develop a Fire Safety Rating Scheme for buildings.
Andelka Toto Ormuz, Fire Safe Europe Communications Task Force Members, Corporate Affairs Manager at Rockwool Adriatic, says: ‘Some of the biggest achievements of Fire Safe Europe were wild dreams a decade ago and now they are reality! Fire Safe Europe turned into the leading and highly recognised and appreciated association that is a glue to fire safety experts not only across EU but also on other continents. I wish a lot of success in the future to Fire Safe Europe as there are new ambitious goals ahead. I remember when we were dreaming about fire safety performance assessment of buildings, like NCAP stars for car safety. I think this fire rating scheme for buildings really makes sense as we, as consumers, need to have information on how safe in case of fire would one building be.’
From 2011 to 2021
Set up in 2011 by companies and associations such as Knauf Insulation, PAROC and Rockwool International, Fire Safe Europe was quickly joined by FROCC, HILTI, ETEX, ECP, SILMA and 800+ individual Community Members.
There are many highlights of the past 10 years – here are just a few: Fire Safe Europe was instrumental in encouraging the launch of European Commission studies on the need to regulate smoke toxicity and the need to develop a European approach for fire assessment of facades. Post-Grenfell advocacy contributed to the launch of the Fire Information Exchange Platform, which aims at empowering countries to share experiences, best practices and collect data on fire safety. Fire Safe Europe also contributed successfully to the inclusion of fire safety articles into the 2018 European Performance Building Directive revision and fire safety amendments to the Initiative report on ‘Maximising the energy efficiency potential of the EU buildings stock’. In parallel with all these activities, Fire Safe Europe reopened the discussion on the EU facade standard and still actively supports the development of a European-wide approach to the fire assessment of facades. In 2020 the organization launched a coalition to develop a Fire Safety Rating Scheme for buildings.
Claus Bugge Garn, Fire Safe Europe Vice President, Vice President at Rockwool International, said: ‘We have come far in establishing Fire Safe Europe as the voice for fire safety in buildings and have had some successes in putting fire safety on the political agenda and in securing progress. There is still a long way to go, and there is more than ever a need for “Fire Safe Europe” securing that a European renovated Building Stock is also a fire safe Building Stock.’
Fire safety should not just be a bonus of building policies, it should be one of the main objectives. For the next few years, Fire Safe Europe will focus on the development and implementation of a stand-alone fire safety rating scheme. Another big challenge is that in the rush towards sustainable buildings, fire safety risks being neglected. Governments want buildings to be greener but meeting sustainability goals should not undermine the need to maintain and improve fire resilience.
There’s lots done and there’s more to do. Why not join the European Fire Safety Community for the next chapter?
For more information, go to www.firesafeeurope.eu