Fire in parking garage calls for a national safety standard

Vexpan, the Dutch parking association, has a special project group called Brandveiligheid Parkeergarages (Fire Safety Parking Garages) that is back in the spotlight because of a recent fire in a parking garage in Amsterdam. Vexpan calls for a nationwide approach for fire safety regulations in parking garages.

Last week there was a big fire in an underground parking garage with two levels in Amsterdam. Multiple cars caught fire and the hundred houses situated right above the garage were evacuated as a precaution. The fire started on the first floor and quickly spread out to the second. This was around 2:30 PM. The Amsterdam Fire Department announced a few minutes before 5:00 PM that they now had full control over the fire and at the end of the afternoon the fire was put out. Fortunately no one got hurt, but dozens of parked cars were damaged because of the fire. The cause of the fire is not known.

This huge fire raised a lot of attention to fire safety in parking garages. There are several regulations when it comes to fire hazard in the Netherlands, but no clear uniform rules. Vexpan’s project group has set a goal one year ago: To create a national standard when it comes to fire safety regulations in parking garages. One standard that applies to the whole country.

But how to create one clear standard out of all the different rules and regulations throughout the country? And another thing: How to communicate the new standard to all of the people involved in the entire process from designing and building to exploiting and maintaining a parking facility?

That is the main task of Vexpan’s projectgroup. Members of the group are, among others, representatives from the Fire Department, local councils and parking garage owners. They are supported by the TNO and NIFV (Dutch Institute for Fysical Safety).

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