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European Fire Research Project

(under the auspices of the  EuCAN  Expert Group Network - Luxembourg)


Accessibility for Everyone ? ....... Evacuation for Some !
People with Activity Limitations
Protection from Fire in Buildings

Wider Context for this Research Project

Disability Rights & Removing Physical Restrictions on Participation in Society

Protection of Historical Buildings & Archives from Fire

Structural Design for Fire afer the WTC (9-11) Incident ?

Design Concepts & Principles for Protection from Fire in Buildings

Project Aims :


To elaborate (and, if possible, to validate in 'real' situations) principles of practical fire safety design / engineering, management and firefighting / rescue for New Buildings, which adequately incorporate a proper consideration of the health protection of People with Activity Limitations in a fire situation ;

b) To examine how the principles identified in a) above may best be applied to Existing Buildings of historical, cultural or architectural importance, within a context of proper conservation, i.e. minimum impact on building structure and fabric consistent with the Venice Charter - while achieving the desired / required level of fire safety ;
c) To make recommendations with regard to the Building Design Process, and to the Roles of Building Managers, Rescue Teams, Firefighters, other First Responder Personnel, and particularly People with Activity Limitations themselves, at the scene of a fire - but also in the context of fire prevention, fire drills, etc ;

To establish a multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral Network of individuals and/or representative organizations in each participating country, whose active interest, involvement or work relates to the issues of ........

  • protection of people with activity limitations in the event of fire ;
  • accessibility of buildings and the 'built environment' ;
e) To encourage and promote a method of working in this Network, which facilitates a Wide Dissemination of available knowledge and expertise concerning fire prevention and protection measures / devices / innovative technologies related to the issues specified in a) to c) above ;

To produce a Harmonized E.U. Vocabulary (in English, Italian, Swedish, French and Flemish) , which focuses on People with Activity Limitations, but which also coherently amalgamates the following subject areas ........

  • fire safety design / engineering of buildings, and related urban planning issues;
  • fire protection in buildings ;
  • building related firefighting and rescue ;
  • building management ;
  • environmental impact.
g) To produce a simplified Harmonized E.U. Classification of Activity Limitations, for the purposes of protection from fire in buildings, which is based on the World Health Organization's 2001 International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). People have varying abilities in relation to self-protection during any emergency - those concerned should be aware of these variations, and the probable user profiles and numbers involved at the scene of a fire.
h) Through the Networks in the different participating countries, to formulate answers to practical, everyday problems associated with the protection of People with Activity Limitations from fire in buildings ;
i) To produce an E.U. Technical Guidance Document which will have widespread application across Europe.



Project Core Partners & National Contacts :


Major Franklin De Herdt, Senior Fire Officer
Service d'Incendie et d'Aide Medicale Urgente de la Region de Bruxelles-Capitale,
Avenue de l'Helliport 15,
B-1000 Bruxelles,
Belgium .
e-mail :

Italy Ms. Mitzi Bollani, Architect
Via Vitali 3,
I-29100 Piacenza,
                     e-mail :
                     internet :

Ireland Mr. C. J. Walsh, Architect, Fire Engineer & Technical Controller
FireOx International,
51 Auburn Hill,
Aughrim Street,
Dublin 7,
Ireland .
                    e-mail :
                    internet :

Sweden Ms. Elena Sire, Architect & Researcher
KTH - Royal Institute of Technology,
Department of Architecture & Town Planning,
Building Function Analysis,
S-100 44 Stockholm,
                    e-mail :
                    internet :


If you wish to Participate in this Research Project, or make a Submission

Please contact the Research Project Leader  C J Walsh



Target Fire Safety Objective :

During and after the process of independent evacuation to a 'place of safety' which is distant from the building , or partial evacuation to a 'place of relative safety' within the building, or protection in place, the individual Health, Safety and Welfare of those people involved, including firefighters, should be assured.



Method of Working, End Product & Dissemination :

The Project will initially establish a working network at national level in each country, which is multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral. Direct involvement of people with activity limitations will be a requirement.

Principles of practical building design / engineering, management, and firefighting / rescue will be developed which must measurably improve the general level of fire safety and protection for people with activity limitations, through the informed use of appropriate performance indicators, and benchmarking. These principles will then be validated by demonstration in 'real' construction situations and by monitoring of actual performance.

Multi-disciplinary work will progress at national levels, but also at European level in Clusters .....

  • Fire Safety Design / Engineering of Buildings ;
    • new buildings
    • buildings of historical, cultural or architectural importance
  • Firefighting and Rescue from Buildings ;
    • carrying and aid techniques
  • Building Management ;
    • classification of activity limitations
  • Self-Defence for People with Activity Limitations ;
    This Cluster will concentrate on the psychological and physical aspects of people with activity limitations providing their own personal protection and performing specific fire safety duties. Also
    • meaningful consultation with the various actors
    • carrying and aid techniques
    • classification of activity limitations.

Typical end users of the research results generated will be Consumers, Policy and Decision Makers, Individual Building Clients and Client Organizations, Architects, Fire Protection/Safety Engineers, Fire Service Personnel, Building Managers, Personnel in AHJ's, Control and Regulatory Authorities, Developers, and Building Contractors, etc.

Finally, a Technical Guidance Document will be produced for wide dissemination at local, regional, national, and E.U. levels.

Relevant Directorates-General in the European Commission will be kept informed of progress in the Project.

Every six months, progress will also be reported to meetings of the EUropean Concept for Accessibility Network (EuCAN) - a Pan-European Group of Technical Experts co-ordinated from Luxembourg.

Project Stages :


Stage 1 : Establishment of a multi-disciplinary, cross-sectoral European Network ;
Stage 2 : Development of Fire Safety Design / Engineering, Management & Firefighting / Rescue Principles ;
Stage 3 : Validation of Stage 2 Principles, and Production of a Technical Guidance Document , with related Performance Indicators .


First Meeting of the Network in Belgium :

This meeting took place on Friday, 20th October 2000 - in Brussels, Belgium - at the Headquarters of the Brussels Fire Service.

09.00 - 09.30 Welcome, Introductions, Expectations
09.30 - 10.30 Presentation and Discussion of the Research Project
10.30 - 11.00 Coffee
11.00 - 12.00 Project Participation, Method of Working, Cluster Tasks, Network Tasks, End Product, Time Scales, Real Building Validation, Project Co-Ordination, Communication, Meetings, Funding, Co-Ordination with Other Organizations, Dissemination
12.00 - 12.30 Discussion
12.30 - 14.00 Lunch
14.00 - 15.30 Cluster Meetings
15.30 - 16.00 Coffee
16.00 - 17.00 Plenary Discussion, Programme of Work, Tasks between Meetings Next Two Meetings - Date, Venue, Times
17.00 Farewell

Documentation considered at the meeting ........

  • WHO International Classification of Functioning & Disability (ICIDH-2) ;
  • Vocabulary - 'Fire Safety & Protection in Buildings' ;
  • Vocabulary - 'Disability'.

Seminar & Workshop in Italy - February 2001 :

In the work of the Italian Network, focus is being directed at Health Facilities, i.e. an establishment, or any unit of an establishment, which provides health care.  The far greater part of this building stock is historical.

Click thumbnails to view Programmes ....

Developments in Ireland :

In the work of the Irish Network, emphasis is being placed on mental, cognitive and psychological impairment.

Task of Irish Network

Click here to download PDF
(PDF File, 96kb)
Work Programme
European Technical Guidance Document

Click here to download PDF
(PDF File, 96kb)

Harmonized EU Vocabulary on
'Fire Safety & Protection in Buildings'

(October 2001)

Click here to Download PDF
(PDF File, 118kb)

Harmonized EU Vocabulary on
'Disability & Perception'

(April 2002)

Click here to Download PDF
(PDF File, 125kb)

November 2001 -

Preparations for the drafting of the European Technical Guidance Document (E-TGD) commenced.

January 2002 - Evacuation Exercise in a Dublin Shopping Centre.

Click thumbnails to view larger images ....



Sweden :

In the work of the Swedish Network, focus is being directed at Buildings of Historical, Cultural and Architectural Importance.

May 2002 - National Research Project Description
Click Here to Download PDF
(PDF File, 73kb)

October 2002 - Fire Seminar in Stockholm, Sweden.

Fire Seminar Agenda
Click Here to Download PDF
(PDF File, 181kb)

Friday Morning, 4th October 2002 - Presentation by CJ Walsh
Click Here to Download PDF
(PDF File, 3.01Mb)




WebSites of Related Interest

European Lift Association

Sound Alert Technology (GB) - Directional Sound Evacuation

Directional Sound Evacuation in Ships




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