28 Jun 2021
by Martin Franke

Spotlight on: TECNIFUEGO unique fire safety association in Europe

The Spanish Association of Fire Protection Societies, TECNIFUEGO, is a national, nonprofit business association that brings together manufacturers, installers, maintainers, and other fire safety services in Spain. Marta Peraza, general secretary of the association, spoke on the recent developments within TECNIFUEGO.

With  158 direct members and more than 500 indirect members the association covers all areas of fire safety: active and passive protection, detection, extinction, forest fires, temperature control and smoke evacuation, fire doors and signalling. That makes TECNIFUEGO a unique association in Europe. Together, the members of the association represent a majority percentage of fire protection in Spain. The mission of this Euralarm member is multi-facetted: next to optimizing the safety of people and goods and thriving after the progress of the market the association also collaborates with the Administration to improve regulations and follows up on market research. TECNIFUEGO saves lives, goods, jobs, thus taking care of the environment.

Value of our sector

In mid-March 2020 and in a brutal and unexpected way, Spain and much of the world stopped. The pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus resulted in the confinement of the entire country for two months and the death of at least 30,000 people in this first wave of the pandemic. Marta about this: "As a result, the activity of our partners, in these months, was severely affected and suffered a significant decrease of about 50%."

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In permanent contact with the Administration, TECNIFUEGO defended the relevance of fire protection as a critical service for the essential activities that were authorized in those days. "In parallel, we wanted to transmit to society the value of our sector. We did this through a video produced internally with the collaboration of our associates who opened the doors of their companies and factories to us. We also composed a protocol of action and preventive measures against COVID19 that we have also published on our website."

The COVID-19 crisis caused the industry to fall by 9.4% in 2020. Fire protection suffered somewhat less, with an 8.5% drop (8% active protection and 9% passive protection). Marta: “Nevertheless, with strict cost control, an increase in members, the freezing of quotas since 2021 and the promotion of online activities, we have achieved a quite good result in 2020.

Promoting standardization

2021 seems more complicated because our companies are going to suffer the real effects of the Covid crisis.Asked for the role that Euralarm plays Marta answers: "Euralarm could play a key role by promoting standardization, monitoring the reform of the CPR, and preventing it from being less demanding. We need common requirements in Europe for fire-fighting products. This is where the focus is and should be. EURALARM could launch activities and projects that are perceived as useful by our partners."

Outlook for the (near) future

Asked for an outlook for the future, Marta replies: "As important issues we glimpse the incorporation and adaptation of new technologies to current legislation and the market. Another important item is the enhancement of human capital as a competitive factor for fire protection companies in the areas training, industrial safety, and prevention of occupational hazards. Meanwhile we will continue collaborating with the administration in legislative reforms and contribute to defending of the fire safety profession and companies. Other topics that we feel are relevant for the future Is the promotion of specialization and professional excellence in the sector in general and raising societal awareness of the importance of being protected against fire and dissemination of fire protection measures. Euralarm could contribute to that by giving more visibility to the fire protection industry in Europe. Euralarm’s position is valued by both administrations and users."

Continue the good work

Despite the difficulties where TECNIFUEGO struggled with the association continued to  work on different very relevant regulations for the professionalization of the sector. "We hope this will be ready by the end of the year", according to Marta. "One of the topics for professionalization are the regulations on installation and maintenance, inspection, water pumps, retardants and prefabricated pipes. In all of them, TECNIFUEGO from the Secretariat of CTN23 and CTN 192SC5 plays a relevant role in coordination with UNE. On the other hand, the recently created remote fire alarm management working group is progressing at a good pace and is presenting its conclusions to the sector, public administrations, and our reference interlocutors."