Emergency service

Sustainable Fire Engineering Design – Targeting & MRV !

2014-04-20:  Traditional/Conventional Fire Engineering Practice is slowly, but inevitably, being transformed … in order to meet the regional and local challenges of rapid urbanization and climate change, the pressing need for a far more efficient and resilient building stock, and a growing social awareness that ‘sustainability’ demands much greater human creativity …

Design Target:  A Safe, Resilient and Sustainable Built Environment for All

Design Key Words:  Reality – Reliability – Redundancy – Resilience

Essential Construction & Occupancy Start-Up Processes:  Careful Monitoring & Reporting – Independent Verification of Performance (MRV)


Sustainable Fire Engineering Design Solutions:

Are Reliability-Based …
The design process is based on competence, practical experience, and an understanding of ‘real’ building performance and resilience during Extreme Man-Made Events, e.g. 2001 WTC 9-11 Attack & 2008 Mumbai Hive Attacks, and Hybrid Disasters, e.g. 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Incident … rather than theory alone.

Are Person-Centred …
‘Real’ people are placed at the centre of creative design endeavours and proper consideration is given to their responsible needs … their health, safety, welfare and security … in the Human Environment, which includes the social, built, economic and virtual environments.

Are Adapted to Local Context & Heritage *
Geography, orientation, climate (including change, variability and severity swings), social need, culture, traditions, economy, building crafts and materials, etc., etc.
[* refer to the 2013 UNESCO Hangzhou Declaration]

In Sustainable Design … there are NO Universal Solutions !

Design Objectives:

To protect society, the best interests of the client/client organization and building user health and safety, and to maintain functionality under the dynamic, complex conditions of fire … Project-Specific Fire Engineering Design Objectives shall cover the following spectrum of issues …

  • Protection of the Health and Safety of All Building Users … including people with activity limitations (2001 WHO ICF), visitors to the building who will be unfamiliar with its layout, and contractors or product/service suppliers temporarily engaged in work or business transactions on site ;
  • Protection of Property from Loss or Damage … including the building, its contents, and adjoining or adjacent properties ;
  • Safety of Firefighters, Rescue Teams and Other Emergency Response Personnel ;
  • Ease and Reasonable Cost of ‘Effective’ Reconstruction, Refurbishment or Repair Works after a Fire ;
  • Sustainability of the Human Environment – including the fitness for intended use and life cycle costing of fire engineering related products, systems, etc … fixed, installed or otherwise incorporated in the building ;
  • Protection of the Natural Environment from Harm, i.e. adverse impacts.


More Specifically … with Regard to Resilient Building Performance during a Fire Incident and the ‘Cooling Phase’ after Fire Extinguishment:

1.   The Building shall be designed to comply with the Recommendations in the 2005 & 2008 NIST(USA) Final Reports on the World Trade Center(WTC) 1, 2 & 7 Building Collapses.

In one major respect, the 2005 NIST Report is flawed, i.e. its treatment of ‘disability and building users with activity limitations is entirely inadequate.  The Building shall, therefore, be designed to comply with International Standard ISO 21542: ‘Building Construction – Accessibility & Usability of the Built Environment’, which was published in December 2011.

2.   The Building shall remain Serviceable, not just Structurally Stable(!) … until all buildings users (including those users with activity limitations waiting in ‘areas of rescue assistance’) have been evacuated/rescued to an accessible ‘place of safety’ which is remote from the building, and have been identified … and all firefighters, rescue teams and other emergency response personnel have been removed/rescued from the building and its vicinity.

The Building shall be designed to resist Fire-Induced Progressive Damage and Disproportionate Damage.  These requirements shall apply to all building types, of any height.

Under no reasonably foreseeable circumstances shall the Building be permitted to collapse !

3.   The Building shall be designed to comfortably accommodate and resist a Maximum Credible Fire Scenario and a Maximum Credible User Scenario.


Concerted International Research is Needed …

To creatively resolve the direct conflict which exists between Sustainable Building Design Strategies and Traditional/Conventional Fire Engineering.

An example … for cooling, heating and/or ventilation purposes in a sustainable building, it is necessary to take advantage of natural patterns of uninterrupted air movement in that building. On the other hand, fire consultants in private practice, and fire prevention officers in authorities having jurisdiction, will demand that building spaces be strictly compartmented in order to limit the spread of fire and smoke … thereby dramatically interfering with those natural patterns of air movement. The result is that the sustainability performance of the building is seriously compromised.

If, however, adequate independent technical control is absent on the site of a sustainable building … it is the fire safety and protection which will be seriously compromised !

To effectively deal with the fire safety problems (fatal, in the case of firefighters) which result from the installation of Innovative Building/Energy/EICT Systems and Products in Sustainable Buildings.


These are appropriate tasks for a new CIB W14 Research Working Group VI: ‘Sustainable Fire Engineering Design & Construction’ !



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Emergency Services in Europe – Occupational Health & Safety

2012-01-14:  I do hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s Eve !   I spent the time on an interesting project in Cuba … but more about that later.

Before launching into a new, much shorter series of posts on the 2008 NIST WTC Recommendations … I wanted to bring to your attention a related, and recently issued, EU-OSHA Publication: ‘Emergency Services: A Literature Review on Occupational Safety & Health Risks’.

I have touched upon this important issue before.  AND … unfortunately, the lack of any proper consideration of this issue by Spatial Planners and Building Designers continues to receive insufficient attention at European and International Levels !

In its own explanatory blurb …

‘ The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) contributes to making Europe a safer, healthier and more productive place to work.  The Agency researches, develops, and distributes reliable, balanced, and impartial safety and health information and organizes pan-European awareness raising campaigns.

Set up by the European Union in 1996 and based in Bilbao, Spain, the Agency brings together representatives from the European Commission, Member State governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations, as well as leading experts in each of the EU-27 Member States and beyond.’

The EU-OSHA WebSite is located at … http://osha.europa.eu


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY – EU-OSHA ‘Emergency Services’ Publication (October 2011)

Emergency Workers comprise large professional groups ranging from career and volunteer firefighters, police officers, emergency medical staff (paramedics – emergency medical technicians – doctors – nurses) to psychologists.  In major disasters, rescue workers, technicians from large relief organizations, additional medical staff, military personnel, anti-terrorist forces, body handlers, clean-up workers, construction workers, and numerous volunteers are involved.  Depending on the emergency/disaster site, emergency workers need specialization, for instance in water rescue, mountain rescue or rescue from heights.  Current environmental, economic, and political developments and trend data all suggest an increase in the severity and frequency of disasters in the future.  Phenomena that support this assumption include increased energy use, progressive global warming, climate change and pollution, population growth, dispersal of industrialization around the globe, expansion of transportation facilities, and the growing spread of terrorism.  The growing issue of better protection for emergency workers from Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Risks has been emphasized as a priority by many experts.  The demands made upon emergency workers, as well as the OSH Risks they are exposed to, will rise as they are confronted with events greater in both number and severity.

Although the exact number of emergency workers is difficult to estimate, the available figures and the large number of people affected by disasters and in need of immediate help are reliable indicators that emergency workers account for a significant proportion of the European Workforce.  Exact numbers can be given for some groups, such as firefighters.  According to the report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), in European countries there is on average one firefighter for every 1,000–1,200 inhabitants.  There are also a considerable number of volunteer firefighters.

Emergency workers’ priorities are to protect human life, property and the environment, and their most common fields of action include:

  • everyday emergencies (road accidents, crime scenes, gas explosions, fires) ;
  • natural disasters (floods, storms, fires, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions) ;
  • industrial accidents (involving hazardous materials, such as in the nuclear and mining sectors) ;
  • transport accidents (major car crashes, plane crashes, rail accidents) ;
  • terrorist and criminal attacks (bomb attacks, gas attacks, shootings) ;
  • massive public events (negative events during concerts, sport events, demonstrations).

The absolute numbers of emergency workers involved in specific events are often not easy to obtain.  Some figures can be found in media reports.  Around 4,000 emergency workers were involved during mud spills in Hungary (2010); 5,500 police and emergency workers were mobilised to organize evacuation during crowd panic in Duisburg, Germany (2010); 240,000 emergency workers and 2,000 members of the armed forces dealt with forest fires in Russia (2010); more than 500 emergency workers were sent to a mine explosion in Russia (2010); 2,500 rescue workers, including 1,500 firefighters, were sent to the area affected by an earthquake in central Italy (2009); up to 70,000 emergency workers took part in the massive operation after the terrorist attack at the World Trade Center in New York, including policemen, firefighters, and construction workers (2001); 200,000 recovery workers were involved in clean-up activities in 1986–1987 after the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl (1986).

European emergency workers are often involved in dealing with major catastrophes that happen outside Europe.  After the earthquake in Haiti (2010), a 64-member search and rescue team was sent from the UK; more than 500 personnel, particularly rescue workers, were sent by France; 450 troops, 50 doctors, technicians and specialists were sent from Spain; more than 20 emergency workers went from Portugal; a plane with a search and rescue team went from the Netherlands; and three medical teams were sent from Hungary.

All types of emergency workers can be involved in any kind of intervention, and the spectrum of possible demands and risks those workers may encounter is very wide.  They may be especially high when the management and preparedness are poor, and there is lack of or insufficient co-ordination, information and communication, lack of training, and inappropriate or insufficient safety and personal protective equipment.

There are some General OSH Hazards and Risks likely to occur in any kind of emergency intervention:

  1. Demanding work environment: working in remote, difficult to access areas; unstable and extremely difficult weather conditions; and unpredictable hazards at the disaster scene such as the danger of collapse of damaged structures.  High risk of violence.
  2. Emotional and psychological overstrain: dealing with many fatalities and injured people; high responsibility for people’s lives; time pressure; and long, unpredictable working hours.
  3. Physical overstrain: physically demanding work; insufficient breaks; manual handling (wearing heavy protective equipment, transportation of patients, carrying dead bodies, removal of debris).

Additionally, particular types of emergency events are related to the greater possibility of other, more Specific OSH Hazards.  Natural disasters may put emergency workers at risk of:

  • water-borne diseases where there is contact with contaminated water (diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid fever, hepatitis A, hepatitis E, parasitic diseases, rotavirus, and shigellosis) ;
  • infectious (tuberculosis) and blood-borne diseases (HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C) as a consequence of contact with survivors and dead bodies, and the possibility of infection transmitted by needle-stick injuries ;
  • vector-borne diseases (malaria, dengue, St. Louis encephalitis, and West Nile fever) transmitted by mosquitoes ;
  • respiratory and asthmatic problems, including asphyxiation, heat stress, and the carcinogenic effects of volcanic eruptions, landslides and earthquakes, and fires leading to significant release of ash and gases, and dust ;
  • being trapped or seriously injured by debris, working in confined spaces, drowning, confrontation with wild, aggressive or infected, domestic animals.

Industrial Accidents may lead to:

  • fatalities, serious injuries, and short and long-term health problems stemming from accidents caused by explosions, followed by fires and the release of toxic substances; the health consequences may include headache, confusion, fainting, agitation, delirium or convulsions, respiratory complaints, cardiovascular complaints, renal failure, eye and skin problems and gastrointestinal problems ;
  • severe health consequences such as burns, skin diseases, and incurable diseases including different kinds of cancer, Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS) and death as a result of nuclear radiation.

Transport Accidents may involve:

  • the risk of being struck by a passing vehicle ;
  • specific risks associated with accidents involving the transport of dangerous substances, hazardous materials, or stemming from burning fuel or chemicals used in vehicles which have ignited or exploded.

Terrorist and Criminal Attacks may involve:

  • unfamiliar, unpredictable, confused, and complex scenarios ;
  • the risk of death or serious injury, injury from weapons and the prospect of being taken as a hostage ;
  • the risk of being exposed to chemical and radiological hazards ;
  • a possibility of bio-terrorism using biological agents such as smallpox, anthrax, botulism, tularaemia, and viral haemorrhagic fevers which can be easily disseminated or transmitted from person to person and cause high mortality.

Negative Events during Massive Public Events may lead to:

  • specific risks, varying from scenario to scenario, including fire, collapsing buildings, violence, terrorist attacks ;
  • specific hazards stemming from violent behaviour and the unpredictable acts of a panicking crowd, such as people trying to escape from a confined space.


Emergency Workers are exposed to a combination of many different risks and there may be many possible consequences for their safety and health.  Possible OSH outcomes have been explored by the analysis of relevant statistics and studies.

Although the risk of Fatalities caused by burn injuries is considered to be relatively small, these kinds of accidents continue to happen.  Data from the UK shows that in the period 2003–2008, 22 firefighters died on duty, significantly more than in the previous five years.  From February 1996 to October 2002, there were no recorded fire deaths in the UK among firefighters who actually attended fires, whereas in the years 2002–2005 13 firefighters were killed at fires.  These statistics do not include fatal heart attacks which happened during the emergency intervention, nor road traffic accidents in transit to or from the accident.  Statistics on fatal accidents indicate that in the US, 43% of firefighters’ deaths in 2009 were caused by sudden cardiac death, 34% by internal trauma, 6% by asphyxiation, 6% by stroke, 6% by ‘other’ causes, 4% by burns, and 1% by gunshot.  The high prevalence of fatalities due to cardiovascular overexertion among firefighters (triggered, for instance, by the emergency alarm that abruptly terminates sedentary activity and begins intense exertion, the very high heart rates recorded during firefighting, exposure to extreme heat, and wearing of heavy protective equipment) has been confirmed by many studies.  Also at high risk are emergency medical staff and ambulance personnel.  Fatal accidents can occur as an immediate consequence of vehicle-related accidents, homicides (a higher prevalence of this among emergency medical workers compared to other medical staff has been reported), and terrorist attacks (such as the hundreds of emergency workers who died in the aftermath of the 2001 attack at the World Trade Center).  In Sweden in 2002, 80% of emergency paramedics reported being threatened or experiencing physical violence.  Fatalities are also related to radiological exposure caused by industrial accidents.  Out of 237 emergency workers involved in the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl and later diagnosed with acute radiation syndrome (ARS), 28 died from ARS in the following months, and a further 19 in the years afterwards.

Available statistics indicate the significant prevalence of Non-Fatal Accidents and Injuries among emergency workers.  For instance, the number of non-fatal accidents suffered by firefighters in Finland ranged between 500 and 600 per year during the period 2005–2007 out of a total population of about 19,000 firefighters.  German data shows that accidents while moving, such as being struck or hit by objects, are the most prevalent, following those involving manual handling and dealing with dangerous, sharp, pointed, stiff, or rough-textured objects.  In 2004–2005, the most frequent non-fatal accidents among workers in the fire services of the United Kingdom were injuries while handling, lifting or carrying (41.3%), followed by slips, trips or falls on the same level (27.6%) and being hit by a moving, flying or falling object (8.9%).  Many other studies confirm that back injuries and upper and lower extremity injuries related to transportation of patients and manual handling are the most common types of injuries experienced by emergency workers, leading to many types of musculoskeletal disorders.

In the last 25 years, the Psychological Trauma suffered by emergency and rescue workers has gained the attention of scientists.  Although studies show that the majority of rescue workers may experience stress that does not necessarily lead to diagnosable mental disorders, a variety of symptoms such as strong emotional reactions (shock, anger, guilt, helplessness), cognitive reactions (disorientation, lack of concentration), physical reactions (tension, fatigue, pain, racing heartbeat) and social effects (isolation from family and friends) may for some time after an incident have a negative impact on workers’ wellbeing.  More serious problems such as acute stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) have also been diagnosed.  A Swedish study indicates a prevalence of between 3% and 25% of PTSD among rescue workers there.  In the USA, the national prevalence of PTSD for the general population was recorded at 4%, whereas the highest reported prevalence for a particular group was 25% among rescue workers and 21% among firefighters.  Higher rates of ‘burnout’ and problems with substance abuse have also been recorded in these groups, compared to the general population.

Occupational Diseases described in the literature are related to the development of different types of cancer as a consequence of radiological exposure, such as the increase in cases of thyroid cancer revealed in a study of Russian emergency workers involved in the Chernobyl disaster.  There are also several epidemiological studies which refer to respiratory disorders experienced by emergency workers, including firefighters, rescue workers, clean-up workers, and police officers who were exposed for several months to dust and hazardous toxic pollutants at the WTC disaster scene, showing that WTC-related lower respiratory symptoms were experienced by 60% and upper respiratory symptoms by 74% of the studied sample.  Respiratory symptoms include the ‘World Trade Center cough’, a persistent cough that some workers developed after exposure to conditions at the site, and which was accompanied by respiratory symptoms severe enough to require medical leave for at least four weeks.  Other serious health problems caused by exposure to hazardous materials and dangerous combustion products include various types of cancer, asbestosis, skin disorders, changes in biochemical and blood parameters, reproductive problems, and even general shorter life expectancy.  Many studies, however, show ambiguous results, and further research in this area is needed.


The nature of emergency work makes it impossible to eliminate, or often even significantly reduce, the amount of risk to which personnel are exposed.  However, there are many primary and secondary preventive measures which may provide better protection.  Some examples of preventive measures at international and national levels include the development of common co-operation and communication procedures, and the introduction of specific laws or policies to protect emergency workers.

Preventive measures at the company level include:

  • better management (communication and co-ordination) ;
  • comprehensive risks assessment ;
  • appropriate preparedness and training (for instance, workers should obtain knowledge about what hazards can be encountered at the disaster scene, the possible physical and mental reactions to them, and how to protect themselves against negative outcomes) ;
  • vaccination ;
  • providing appropriate personal protective equipment, protective clothes, safety equipment (for instance, gas detectors, radiation alarm systems, mosquito nets), and ergonomic equipment (firefighter robots, syringe needles that incorporate safety features) ;
  • providing primary and secondary prevention of mental health problems (psychological preparedness, post-intervention psychological support and help, and long-term psychological care when needed) ;
  • long-term care and health surveillance alongside mandatory medical examinations, including workplace health promotion projects that provide workers with appropriate and safe keep-fit facilities.

Although major disasters and accidents are always to be expected, past disasters and more recent events demonstrate that communities are still often not fully prepared for dealing with major disasters.  It is also clear that the protection of emergency workers against OSH Risks exhibits shortcomings.  This literature review indicates some areas in which additional research and actions are necessary.  General preventive measures begin with reducing the vulnerability of people to disasters, and reducing the severity of the damage that might be caused by a disaster, resulting in a smaller number of emergency workers needed to take part in disaster control.  The OSH of Emergency Workers should be also taken into consideration in the earliest stages of building design, such as by making it possible for lifts to be used during an emergency, and in the formation of emergency response plans at international, national, and organisational level.  Rehearsing different terrorist attack scenarios can serve as a way to predict possible hazards for emergency workers.  Also essential is the further development of personal protective and other safety equipment, especially against multiple hazards and bio-terrorism, and taking into consideration the possibility of physical overstrain and the difficult working environment of emergency workers.  Further longitudinal research on the negative health effects of dangerous substances is needed, including studies on the toxicological properties of the combustion of new products which are constantly being developed and introduced to the market.




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‘Areas of Rescue Assistance’ in Buildings – More Bytes ?

2009-03-17:  Pull closer to the screen … we can lower the sound level, and be honest with ourselves for a few minutes …


We have enabling legislation spewing out of our ears in the European Union on the subject of ‘fire safety, protection and evacuation for all’ … there is absolutely no shortage whatsoever !


The problem is that far too many fire officers (prevention and operations) and building control officers in local authorities, architects, engineers and quantity surveyors do not know and/or do not care about this issue.


Rates of compliance with legislation are very low.  Proper compliance is such a rare thing … that you would almost feel like holding a party, in celebration, right there on the spot when it’s discovered !   This applies not only to Ireland and Great Britain … but to the rest of Europe as well.


And while many countries have already signed and ratified the 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which became an International Legal Instrument on 3rd May 2008 … and many more will do likewise during the course of the next year or two, including the United States of America (according to the Whitehouse WebSite !) … I am sure that few individuals in those countries have any understanding of Article 11 (text quoted in an earlier post).



Accessible Fire Engineering:

On that fateful morning of 11th September, 2001 … at the World Trade Center Complex in Lower Manhattan, New York City … we witnessed a catastrophic failure in common practices and procedures … at all levels …

         Architectural / Conventional (‘Ambient’) Engineering / Fire Engineering ;

         Building Management ;

         Emergency Responders / Firefighters / Rescue Teams ;

         Control Organizations Having Authority (AHJ’s) or Jurisdiction ;

         Fire Safety Objectives in Building Legislation, Codes & Standards.


This was a ‘real’ fire incident.  It has been very, very closely examined in the intervening years.  Disability was a major issue at the heart of the tragedy … 6% of WTC building occupants were people with mobility impairments … approximately 8%, in total, were people with disabilities.  The overall number of People with Activity Limitations (2001 WHO ICF), however, was higher.


It is for this reason that three vital WTC Components have neatly dovetailed and fused … to realize an essential rational and empirical basis for a transformed fire engineering approach which can deal effectively with ‘fire safety, protection and evacuation for all’ of the people who use buildings … Accessible Fire Engineering … a subset of Sustainable Fire Engineering …


1.  2005 NIST(USA) NCSTAR 1 Final Report on 9-11 WTC 1 & 2 Tower Collapses. 


2.  2008 NIST NCSTAR 1A Final Report on 9-11 WTC 7 Collapse.


3.  Ongoing NYC-ATSDR World Trade Center Health Registry (established 2002).



Further Information about ‘fire safety, protection and evacuation for all’, the NIST 9-11 Reports and the WTC Health Registry … is available at the FireOx International WebSite






Picking up, therefore, where I left off a few days ago …



An ‘Area of Rescue Assistance’ in a Building should:

         adjoin every fire evacuation staircase in a building ;

         be located on every floor (note: fire evacuation routes at ground level should lead directly to the exterior) ;

         include adequate space for the people in wheelchairs, and their assistants, people using crutches, people with visual impairments, etc., who may be expected to use the area of rescue assistance during a fire emergency ;

         have good lighting at all times (note: lighting activation/de-activation by motion detection, for reasons of energy efficiency, should not be used in an area of rescue assistance) ;

         be clearly indicated with good signage ;

         be fitted with an accessible and reliable communication system placed at a height of 900 – 1 200 mm above finished floor level, facilitating direct contact with a person in the main fire and security control centre for the building ;

         be of sufficient size for the storage of a sufficient number of (powered) evacuation chairs, portable fire extinguishers, a fire hose reel and a manual fire alarm call point, a fire evacuation supply kit containing, for example, smoke hoods, suitable gloves to protect a person’s hands from debris when pushing his/her manual wheelchair, patch kits to repair flat tyres, and extra batteries for powered wheelchairs, etc.



The Size of an Area of Rescue Assistance should:

         relate to expected local usage during a fire emergency.  When the number of people using/occupying/working in/visiting a specific building is considered … calculate how many may have to wait there, if the lifts/elevators cannot be used for evacuation and/or fire safety management procedures fail.


For example, if there are only two fire evacuation staircases on a floor in a building (on opposite sides of the building, of course), each area of rescue assistance should be designed to cater for the expected needs of the full floor.


Please also see the end of my Post: ‘U.S. Disability Statistics – EU Practical Application ?’, dated 2009-02-25.



Evacuation Chairs should be capable of:

         being safely and easily handled ;

         carrying people of large weight (up to 150 kg) ;

         going down staircases, which may be narrow and of unusual shape, particularly in existing buildings ;

         travelling long distances horizontally and externally, perhaps over rough ground, in order to reach a ‘place of safety’.


When it is necessary to go up an evacuation staircase to reach ground level … for example, from a basement or underground shopping centre … Powered Fire Evacuation Chairs should always be provided.



A ‘Reliable’ Buddy System:

In buildings with a reasonably stable user profile, e.g. workplaces, a Buddy System should be introduced throughout the building user population.  For reliability and flexibility, e.g. to accommodate absence or holiday leave, a buddy system should always comprise at least 3 or 4 people.


In the case of a person using a wheelchair, his/her Buddy Unit should never be less than 4 people …


Black and white photograph showing the correct technique for assisting the evacuation of a person who uses a wheelchair. U.S. Fire Administration 'Orientation Manual for First Responders on the Evacuation of People with Disabilities'. FA-235/August 2002.

Black and white photograph showing the correct technique for assisting the evacuation of a person who uses a wheelchair. U.S. Fire Administration ‘Orientation Manual for First Responders on the Evacuation of People with Disabilities’. FA-235/August 2002.


Fire Safety Management Procedures:

Prior to putting any Management Procedures into operation … and certainly before carving any of these procedures in stone … meaningful consultation should take place with building users and local fire authorities … which, particularly in the case of people with activity limitations, will produce the desired outcome of informed consent.


Informed Consent …

Consent freely obtained – without threats or improper inducements – after appropriate disclosure to a person of relevant, adequate and easily assimilated information in a form (e.g. oral, written, braille) and language understood by that person.


Personal Representative …

A person charged, under European Union or EU Member State national law, with the duty of representing another person’s interests in any specified respect, or of exercising specified rights on that person’s behalf – and including the parent or legal guardian of a child, i.e. a person under the age of 18 years, unless otherwise provided for by European Union or EU Member State national law.



Without wishing to be obscure, or to avoid the issue … Fire Safety Management Procedures need to be developed to suit each specific building, with its own building user population.







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‘112’ – A Single European Emergency Phone Number ??

2009-03-16:  Wherever you are in the European Union (EU) … and whatever you are doing … there is just one phone number that you need to remember for emergency services – ‘112’.


Now that Bulgaria has set up its own 112 Hotline, the single EU Emergency Phone Number works in All EU Member States, without exception …


Check out your country … here !



When you call ‘112’, – from a land line, a public pay phone or a mobile/cell/handy phone – a local operator will either deal with your call directly, or redirect you to the emergency service you need – ambulance, police, or the fire services.


There is no charge for a ‘112’ Phone Call.


The single EU Emergency Phone Number does not replace existing national emergency phone numbers – it works alongside them.


Did you know that this number has been around for almost 20 years … and still only 22% of Europeans know about it ?



However, one small little problem remains … you can only call this number … that is, if you are physically capable of making a call and having a phone conversation !


Article 9 of the 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (text quoted in an earlier post !), which became an International Legal Instrument on 3rd May 2008, requires that the …


EU ‘112’ Emergency Phone Number System SHALL be ACCESSIBLE !


Get your fingers out Brussels !!!






UPDATE 2013-04-06:   In the interim … there has been no dramatic improvement …


Flash EuroBarometer 368 – February 2013 – Summary Report


The European Emergency Number ‘112’

Click the Link above to read/download PDF File (1.4 MB)







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April 2020