How to prevent your house from being eaten up by the flames

there is No winter, nor Christmas, in which the dwellings are not flames. Oversights, indiscretions and improper use of electrical appliances, braziers and cand

How to prevent your house from being eaten up by the flames

there is No winter, nor Christmas, in which the dwellings are not flames. Oversights, indiscretions and improper use of electrical appliances, braziers and candles destroying thousands of houses and, what is worse, carried ahead the life of its inhabitants. In the absence of a definitive assessment, it is estimated that in 2019 there will be an increase of casualties by fire with respect to the previous year, when it reported 123 dead, according to the Mapfre Foundation and the Professional Association of Technical Fire. Since the first quarter of 2019 became the worst since 2010, with 75 fatalities, insured Tecnifuego (Spanish Association of Societies of Protection against Fires).

The city of Madrid served to highlight the magnitude of the fires in homes. In the capital alone, and until the 15th of December, there were a total of 1.575 fires in the interior of buildings and they 1.269 occurred in homes, which represents 80% of the interventions, a figure the city council of madrid. According to Rafael Ferrándiz, chief of the Fire department of the city Council, "the housing, which is the site where more secure he feels the citizen is also the place where they produce more fire; the occupant relaxes, and thinks that the prevention have to do other". However, this prevention, which has to be internalized in the citizen, it is the tool that more lives saved. "There is nobody, other than ourselves, which regulates the loading of fire [accumulation of household goods, papers...] that there is a floor," he adds.

Forester recommended to have a portable fire extinguisher, a smoke detector or fire blankets in the interior of each building, something that to this day it remains voluntary. Also what is the installation of automatic sprinklers, despite the fact that save lives and reduce up to two-thirds the damage caused by the fire.

out Of doors, the thing changes. The fire equipment located in the building's common areas (landings, boiler rooms, car parks etc.) are mandatory and must comply with a series of basic requirements. From the December 12, 2018, ended the period of adaptation to the Regulation of Fire Protection Facilities (RIPCI), communities of owners are required to spend quarterly a review of these computers. A report of Unespa, employer insurance, which contains a total of 103,000 accidents by fires in Spain in 2018, reveals that its cost amounted to 525 million euros. 71.4% of the events occurred in homes, and 11.4% in the common areas of the farms, with special emphasis on electrical boxes, garages, storage rooms, and portals.

More requirements

Next to the prevention and enforcement of the regulations, it is equally important to take into account the materials used in the construction. In Spain, efforts have been made in the legislation for completion of the basic safety requirements. The last is the revision of the Technical Building Code (CTE) adopted by royal decree by the Council of Ministers on December 20, which introduces a modification in the basic document of safety in case of fire. Limits the increase in the risk of fire that can be derived from the progressive implantation of solutions of facade to comply with the new requirements of energy efficiency.

Specifically, they argue from the Ministry of Development, "the widespread use of systems of heat insulation for the exterior (known as EIFS) or ventilated facades may pose an increased risk of the spread of fire through the building. This has been limited by some major requirements concerning the reaction to fire of the materials used".

For the first time will require measures to protect against the spread outside of the fire walls in buildings of lower height (less than 18 meters), which constitute the bulk of the park built in Spain. "Also, and although it was already running, the CTE provides, finally, that the insulation in ventilated facades with products not flammable (mineral wool)", explains Juan López-Asiain, responsible of the Technical Cabinet of the General Council of Technical Architecture (CGATE).

however, the regulatory change has a limp on some issues. Spain has lost the opportunity to force to install smoke detectors in the interior of the houses, "a fundamental change in the rules, that we have been requesting for years, and that could save many lives," stresses Adrian Gomez, president of Tecnifuego. The placement of this type of devices, low cost and easy installation, is already regulated in France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the United Kingdom. According to Gómez, this last country, which made compulsory the placement of smoke detectors in 1992, has passed out of register 831 fire deaths in 1987 to 8% of the households equipped with this device, only 258 in 2017 with a percentage of detectors per household of 85%.

in Addition, the standard does not raise different requirements in function of the use of the building, something that was also relevant. "Do not take into account walls that may have special requirements, such as hospitals, schools and interior courtyards, and should be non-combustible to allow the access of fire fighters and a few bowel movements more secure", reason, Alfonso Díez, coordinator of the Committee of Manufacturers of Passive Protection of Tecnifuego.

the Promotion argues that, in the specific case of the propagation for facade, the key risk factors are the height of the building and the structural characteristics (for example, the existence or non-existence of a ventilated cavity). "Therefore, just as in the regulations of most european countries, they have established the requirements in function of these two parameters, whereas for determining those uses that may have a greater level of risk", insist in the ministry.

The margin of these lagoons, this amendment to the building code will serve as a spur to technological innovation in the sector. For example, the research centre Tecnalia is developing new materials and systems and fire-resistant. And from a year ago, is operating the first laboratory fire tests the large-scale facades in Spain and is among the pioneers in Europe in the execution of essays.

Among its solutions include a transparent varnish that protects the wood in front of the fire, and a new system of ventilated façade based on composite plastic-wood and agricultural residues-forestry, which improves the fire resistance.

Updated Date: 04 January 2020, 04:00

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