Properly installed smoke detectors save lives, and that may be the main reason why smoke detectors are mandatory at residential housing in many European countries. Today in Europe smoke detectors are mandatory at homes in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, The United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Germany and in the Netherlands.
The seven layers of fire safety in buildings
Europe has improved fire safety over past decades and because of that, house fires and other fire related accidents have significantly decreased. Over the past 30 years, fire fatalities have fallen by 65 % in Europe. According to the EU Fire Safety Guide, the 7 layers of fire safety in buildings are prevention, detection, early suppression, evacuation, compartmentation, structural safety and fire fighting. As can be seen from the safety guide, the actual firefighting is the last thing on the list and the actions of preventing fire and therefore big damage are the most crucial ones. Many of the fire prevention measures are the responsibility of the designers, builders and other than the residents of the building but residents can also pay a lot of attention to fire safety.
Important fire safety facts
What are the reasons that cause accidental fires in Europe then? The main reasons are smoking, electrical faults, cooking and carelessness with sources that can start a fire such as candles and matches. In many cases of residential fires, the furniture, like beds and textiles are involved and the fires start in the living room, bedroom or kitchen. Construction products that may be exposed to a flammable fire are subject to fire reaction requirements based on the Euroclass system. The Euroclass system is made to measure products’ fire performance by measuring it’s characteristics including ignitability, flame spread, heat release, production of smoke and producing flamin particles.
The European fire safety week
The European fire safety week is held in November of each year and its main goal is to improve fire safety and raise awareness regarding the matter. The European fire safety week is especially directed to stakeholders and to EU policy makers but offers useful information to citizens of Europe too. During the European fire safety week there are discussions about European fire safety topics based on science and knowledge of fire safety professionals.