A new, detailed study published by the University of Surrey (UK) confirms that a combination of fire safety regulations for furniture and smoke alarm promotion could save 850 lives throughout Europe (EU 25 States), and avoid some €3.6 billion costs of residential fires every year.
The UK is the only country in Europe to require domestic and office furniture to be fire safe and the study looks at the impacts of the 1988 legislation to introduce such mandatory minimum fire safety standards. The report also investigates the impacts of the increased proportion of domestic buildings with smoke alarms installed since that date, whilst taking into account changes in the proportion of the population who smoke.
This new research confirms and updates earlier reports by the same authors published by the UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in 1999 1, partially updated in 2002 2, taking into account three further years of UK fire statistics (through to 2002), statistics for smoking habits and fire alarm installation, and comparisons with fire statistics from the USA, the Geneva Association (world fire statistics) 3, Ireland, Norway and Denmark. It is consistent with the report by Deheuvels in 2004 4 which concluded 180 lives per year are saved from fire in the UK by the 1988 furniture regulations alone.
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