This year, situational awareness from various viewpoints was the main topic of Fire Safety Days. Several presentations emphasized its importance especially in accidents. The fire in Huntsman factory in Pori a couple of years ago silenced the audience because of its magnitude and also because fire extinguishing was so efficient in practise.
There are five clever ways to improve the safety and security of special groups. The most important one can by crystallised into the following few words: “Safety is a shared responsibility”. This shared responsibility is not only limited to one’s nearest and dearest. Rather, it also extends to neighbours, the housing association, care personnel, the municipality and the entire society.
When it comes to household fires associated with electrical appliances, the number one culprit is well known. It appears that cookers clearly occupy the top position in fire statistics, followed by sauna stoves, washing machines and light fixtures. The statistics, however, don’t tell the whole truth. The greatest risk factor is the human using the electrical device. Using electrical appliances in a safe manner is the central theme of this year's Fire Safety Week.
The purpose of smoke alarms is to make people aware of emerging fires so that people can be saved and extinguishing can be started. In response to polls, almost everyone says that they have a sufficient number of functioning smoke alarms at home. However, according to emergency services statistics, 60 per cent of dwellings that experienced fires were not fitted with smoke alarms at all or they did not function. The 1st of December is the Nordic Smoke Alarm Day. This is a good day to replace old smoke alarms or change the batteries in newer ones.
Finnish voluntary fire brigade activities were awarded ”Volunteer of The Year 2018” at the Finnish Security Awards. The award is for every voluntary association and for each volunteer in these associations. The award was granted at the annual Finnish Security Awards gala, organised by Turvallisuus & Riskienhallinta Magazine.
The Firebrigades’ Assembly, a collective gathering for all voluntary fire fighters in Finland was organised on the 9th of June. During the day, fire brigade activities were proudly exhibited at the event at Vaasa market square and during a voluntary fire fighter parade in the city centre. The day culminated in an official meeting and a subsequent gala at Vaasa city hall later in the evening.
On 14 May the SPEK Council adopted a new strategy. Its vision is: A safe and crisis-resilient society, realised together with our membership.
Before hot work safety training was started in 1988, approximately 40 per cent of major fires were caused by hot work. Today fewer than five per cent of major fires are caused by welding, disc cutting and other hot work. According to a survey commissioned by the Finnish National Rescue Association (SPEK), hot work safety training is regarded as important. Even so, it needs to continually be improved in relation to the realities of working life.
New technologies and web connectivity open up new prospects for making everyday life and living safer. While the IoT, the Internet of Things, provides an opportunity for improving safety, it may also generate safety risks. Information security, in particular, often receives little attention, as the Fire Prevention Technology Development Group points out.
SPEK participated in the European Commission's Civil Protection Forum in Brussels in March with an exhibition stand and presentations of three different community safety projects.