Fire Prevention goes back to the Directorate-General Civil Security
Jan De Saedeleer, the Head of the Fire Prevention Service, tells us his point of view on the added value this return represents: "Thanks to the return of Fire Prevention, the various aspects of the fire brigade's security chain (forecasting - prevention - preparation - execution - assessment) are back together under one roof. This makes it possible to have better integration of prevention in the fire brigade's missions as a whole and to implement a harmonized policy. We've come full circle. Like that, prevention can, by relying on the assessment of the causes of fires, draw lessons from the execution and, as for preparation and execution, lessons can be learned from enforcing the prevention rules as the risks are better known and followed up. The 'prevention' aspect is not only about passing and enforcing technical requirements that are laid down by regulations, but also about sensitizing citizens and raising their responsibility awareness with regard to the fire hazards they can avoid in their daily activities.”
The chief missions of the Fire Prevention Service are therefore the following:
- Improving citizens' safety by contributing to the making of the rules regarding fire prevention and by ensuring these regulations will be implemented.
- Informing citizens about and sensitizing them to fire-related hazards and dangers, so that they too can intervene as fire prevention actors.
At regulatory level, the Fire Prevention Service is active within the Special Dispensations Commission which examines very carefully the applications for a special dispensation for certain constructions with regard to basic standards concerning fire safety, insofar as the construction maintains a safety level at least equivalent to the one required by these standards, i.e. by means of certain provisions made for a future building so that the expected fire safety level can be ensured, even if the provisions do slightly depart from the regulatory requirements.
Furthermore, this Service manages the Belgian High Council for Fire and Explosion Safety which provides advice on each draft royal decree regarding the standards intended to prevent fire outbreaks, to detect any outbreak of fire and to keep the latter from spreading, and puts forwards prevention measures against fire and explosion.
As far as sensitizing citizens to fire-related hazards and dangers is concerned, the Fire Prevention Service is, in close cooperation with the emergency rescue zones' fire prevention advisors (FPAs) active on several fronts, by:
- organizing campaigns such as those about smoke detectors or escape plans in case of fire.
- participating in events, for instance during the “Safety Fortnight” or at the Belgian Home Affairs' Safety Village on the 21st July (National Holiday in Belgium).
- issuing tips and advice, such as those on how to avoid domestic accidents in the kitchen or at a BBQ.
- producing educational material for children.