A better and more sustainable future
The countries in the world have committed themselves to improve the planet and lives of its citizens, and UN has defined this in 17 life-changing goals. These Goals should be reached by 2030.
This means that all countries, companies, and individuals should strive for and contribute to making it possible.
CFPA Europe, as a European and Global association, want to support and contribute to this important work, and our work mainly concerns four of UN’s Goals:
• Goal 3 – Good Health and Well-being
• Goal 4 – Quality Education
• Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities
• Goal 13 – Climate Action
How we contribute to UN’s Climate Action Goal:
Adaptation to climate change – A statement of CFPA Europe
Climate change is increasingly becoming worldwide an issue for society, as well as for CFPA Europe as an association of national fire protection organisations in Europe. Here, mitigation with the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is mostly on the agenda.
In parallel, adaptation to climate change is becoming increasingly essential, to limit the impacts of climate change on people, nature and society. This step is reasonable, as extreme weather events and changes in meteorological parameters, e. g regionally and seasonally rising of average temperatures or/and shifting of precipitation distributions are expected to increase because of climate change. These negative consequences are due to ongoing climate change and delayed and insufficient mitigation efforts. The typical impacts of climate change are e. g. flooding caused by heavy rainfall away from water bodies, heat waves, drought in summer and associated wildfires, storms, and hail. They are already recurring in European countries and have caused fatalities, severe damage to nature, to property and considerable economic activities impairment.
The protection against natural hazards, and, thus also against extreme weather events has been a topic of CFPA Europe since 2012. Based on experiences of member organisations of CFPA E, the following recommendations are already developed and published:
- Guideline No.1: 2012 N Protection against flood
- Guideline No.2: 2013 N Business Resilience – An introduction to protecting your business (Will soon be updated, also with respect to climate change)
- Guideline No.3: 2013 N Protection of buildings against wind damage
- Guideline No.4: 2013 N Lightning protection
- Guideline No.5: 2014 N Managing heavy snow loads on roofs
- Guideline No.6: 2016 N Forest Fires
- Guideline No.7: 2018 N Demountable / Mobile flood protection systems
These guidelines are available on the CFPA Europe website for free download. New guidelines on structural protection against heavy rain, and hail, and the supply of fire-fighting water in extreme weather conditions are currently under intensive development. Related to the last cases in recent years, the “forest fires” guideline will be updated.
Protection against natural hazards is also taken into account e. g. in the guideline on IT facilities (Guideline No.14: 2019 F) interdisciplinary, parallel to fire protection. The possible interactions with mitigation are also addressed in the development and the updating of technical recommendations. This is the case with Guideline No. 37: 2018 F “Photovoltaic systems: recommendations on loss prevention”, as renewable energy can effectively contribute to mitigation and extreme weather event impact PV installations on roofs or facades. All recommendations are intended to help the identification of hazards and the management of associated risks.
The development and updating of recommendations on protection against natural hazards are done by CFPA Europe in cooperation with experts from Insurance Europe, the umbrella organisation of insurers operating in Europe.
As a European player, CFPA Europe will continue to address climate change in its guidelines with practical recommendations as supporting contribution to adaptation to climate change.
How CFPA Europe contribute to some other Goals
We contribute not only to UN’s Goal about Climate Change, and here are some examples.
CFPA Europe try to reduce the number of fires and every fire that can be avoid has a positive effect on the well-being. However, since each fire gives carbon dioxide emissions, it is important to keep the number of fires as low as possible.
“Good Health and Well-being”(Goal 3) are important for all human and CFPA Europe has e.g. published Guidelines that gives advice how to reduce risks for fires in homes and how to reduce the consequences.
• Guideline No.24:2016 F Fire safe homes
• Guideline No.6:2011 F Fire safety in care homes for the elderly
“Quality education” (Goal 4) is, of course, a key to escaping poverty but also to make people aware of risks. In case of fire risks and other risks, it is also necessary to know how to act. CFPA Europe has for more than two decades harmonized training courses in Europe, and the interest for these courses are increasing also outside Europe. Our courses are mainly about fire safety, but we have also many security courses. They are on several qualification levels. Some of the basic courses are useful for all citizens in the whole world. CFPA Europe wish that all children should be offered some hours education in safety, because we are sure that the high numbers of fire death among young children in poor countries will reduce significant with just a few hours safety education for all children.
“Sustainable Cities and Communities” (Goal 11) is in focus in most of all our Guidelines and is also conveyed in our educations. What we have found is the best practice to reduce risks and bring better safety we summarize in Guidelines, and all these publications we are offering for free to everyone. CFPA Europe and its members have long experience and together we wish to use our knowledge to make a better and safer world.
Individual members have their own projects
Some of CFPA Europe’s members are working in project that contribute to UN’s 17 Goals. One example is the member Majaczech from Czech Republic.
Majaczech conducts several activities, including research and strategic studies, with their members/partners. These activities are mostly focused on climate action (Goal 13) and good health and well-being (Goal 3) on both national and international levels. Examples are “Occupational safety of volunteer firefighters”, “Increasing disaster resiliency of local communities during disasters”, and “Occupational safety in context of climate change”. Majaczech is also working under the UN’s National Development Program and collaborate the project “Integration of fire hazard and risk assessments into disaster risk analysis system through transfer of knowledge and Czech experience in Bosnia and Herzegovina”.
What impact has the crisis had on areas such as burglary, cybercrime, terrorism, etc?
DBI, the CFPA Europe member in Denmark, gives on their website some trends that they have been seen in Denmark.
There have been numerous cyberattacks, particularly at the beginning of the crisis. The perpetrators adapted their language and wording to match the tone of the authorities. They tried to get people to log on to fake sites.
And what about burglaries? It looks like the burglars also accepted the advice to stay at home, and the burglary rates have fallen by a quarter compared to the same period last year.
Read more about these and other crimes and the experiences in Denmark.
The trend towards quality in fire detection and extinguishing systems as well as the number of alarms physically checked on site remained level in 2019, similar to 2018. It is noteworthy that the volume of equipment continues to increase. Factors affecting the present situation are modern equipment, trained system operators and the collective effort of the actors within the field where quality is sufficiently assured in all implementations.
The importance of proper maintenance and competent personnel cannot be overstated.The trend towards quality in fire detection and extinguishing systems as well as the number of alarms physically checked on site remained level in 2019, similar to 2018. It is noteworthy that the volume of equipment continues to increase. Factors affecting the present situation are modern equipment, trained system operators and the collective effort of the actors within the field where quality is sufficiently assured in all implementations. The importance of proper maintenance and competent personnel cannot be overstated.
This positive trend in equipment can be seen when the present number of automatic alarms, i.e. those coming from alarms connected to the emergency response centre (ERC), as well as the number of alarms physically checked on site are compared to the statistics from previous years. Whereas in 2019 rescue authorities checked out a total of 17 404 alarms, the average from 2016–2018 was 18 221 alarms checked (source: Pronto). Even though the volume of equipment is on the rise, the number of dispatches generated by alarms to rescue departments keeps decreasing – this is by virtue of sophisticated equipment, fire detection system maintenance companies and system operators.
An earlier press release of the Emergency Services Academy Finland concerning callouts received from automatic fire alarms connected to ERCs also supports this view:
Fire alarms connected to ERCs generated 18 000 alarms, which represents 16 per cent of all rescue services’ dispatches. Of these, 1 200 (7 per cent) were valid alarms. The previous time this number was as low was in 2002, even though the number of fire alarms connected to ERCs has constantly grown. These data were compiled by Pronto, the rescue services’ resource and accident statistics program.
More information (in Finnish) can be obtained through the following weblink: More traffic accidents in 2019, fewer fire alarms and first response dispatches.
Fewer serious shortcomings – also credit to the rescue authorities
Third-party working groups for interpreting standards and instructions also deem it beneficial that the owners of equipment are increasingly interested in ensuring the long-term reliability of fire extinguishing systems. It is also good that inspections have found fewer serious shortcomings in automatic extinguishing systems.
In 2019 Kiwa Inspecta conducted long-term testing on sprinkler systems, in other words 15 to 25 year reliability tests in accordance with a given site’s technical manual or design standard. The number of long-term reliability tests grew by 73 per cent compared to 2018. This is a very positive sign of improved practical lifespan monitoring in fire prevention technology.
Active collaboration bears fruit. “When it comes to this trend, credit should also be given to the rescue authorities”, says Mr Antero Peltomaa from Kiwa Inspecta, representing the Fire Prevention Technology Development Group. The authorities have better taken into account the third party working group’s reports of serious shortcomings, and demanded that the owners of extinguishing systems promptly engage in corrective action.
There is still plenty to be done – for instance the periodic inspections of fire alarms have revealed challenges in updating the systems and making them mutually compatible. The third-party working groups have found implementations having inadequate certificates and documentation when fire detection system (FDS) control panels have been replaced or updated. Inspections carried out by neutral third parties should be the norm when replacing and introducing FDS control panels. Still, first and foremost, the installation and service companies operating in this field should draw attention to this problem and improve quality assurance. This could help minimise such future problems in association with FDS control panel replacements which, to an extent, can now be inferred from the statistics.
“The customer’s own active engagement is also paramount in quality assurance, so that shortcomings are detected through regular maintenance and inspections. Detected shortcomings must be reacted to immediately, rather than passively waiting for the next periodic inspection. Fire prevention technology, in essence, entails continuity management as well as protecting lives and property”, says Mr Lauri Lehto, Safety and Security Advisor at the Finnish National Rescue Association and Fire Prevention Technology Development Group.
Transition year for the new ST1 guidelines
The new ST1 guidelines for design, installation, and maintenance of fire detection systems were updated and introduced in 2019, and will be implemented in 2020. Likewise, the European Standards CEN/TS 54-14:2018en on the same topic have been updated. The fire safety branch has been waiting for reviewed decrees on fire detection systems but, unfortunately, it seems that the present Coronavirus situation will also delay these statutes and so the need for an updated decree still exists. In this situation, third-party inspectors and rescue authorities have been called upon to interpret the guidelines vis-à-vis the enactments.
In 2019 there were more and more such inspections, especially periodic inspections, in which the detected shortcomings recorded in inspection documents greatly differ from earlier observations. Consequently, in 2018 the third-party working groups for interpreting standards and instructions organised joint meetings among the groups. The goal of these meetings is to harmonise inspection practices among the third-party working groups. The group for interpreting instructions also participates in these meetings.
Fire Prevention Technology Development Group
The Fire Prevention Technology Development Group is a group of experts whose shared goal is to advance safety and to develop the service and maintenance, quality and technical prospects of fire prevention technology. The group is comprised of experts as well as representatives of fire prevention technology associations and fire safety organisations. The operating models published by the group are generic models intended for support and information, and people working within the field of fire prevention technology as well as other actors can find relevant information from them.