Electric car sales are on the rise. Also in Belgium. Safe parking and charging in car parks is therefore receiving increasing attention. Cars in general pose a major fire risk, especially in underground car parks. But cars with rechargeable batteries pose an even greater fire risk. The evolution in vehicles causes fires that produce more heat and smoke and are more difficult to fight by firefighters. Cars of today represent a significantly higher fire load than cars of 10 years or more ago. The existing trend to use more plastics also increases the risk in case of fire.
How do you guarantee fire safety?
Every building and thus also underground car parks must be constructed and operated in such a way that fire safety is guaranteed. Specifically for electric vehicles in car parks, the necessary technical and organisational measures must be taken to ensure that an electric vehicle affected by fire can be safely evacuated after initial extinguishment by the fire brigade.
What are the conditions?
When can we speak of a fire-safe environment? For this, a few conditions must be met. The car park is compartmentalised from other parts of the building and provides sufficient stability in case of fire. The atmosphere can never become toxic or explosive. Any outbreak of fire or creation of a hazardous situation is communicated to all occupants and the emergency services as soon as possible. Heat and smoke from a fire shall not endanger occupants for a sufficient time to reach a safe place. Heat and smoke from a fire do not prevent firefighters from responding safely. After the fire is extinguished, evacuation & monitoring is feasible without over mobilising resources.
Limit the damage
One burning car can produce a huge amount of smoke and toxic substances in a fairly short time. Of course, this does not make an intervention by the fire brigade simple. If the intervention is laborious, the fire could potentially escalate quickly and lead to a lot of damage. The release of smoke and toxic substances also complicates the evacuation of those present. It is therefore crucial that measures are taken to ensure a smooth evacuation and to reduce and combat the fire hazard.
New legislation on the way!
As a syndic, co-owner, building owner or architect, how can you anticipate? What can you do today to guarantee the fire safety of your car park when electric cars enter the car park and/or charging stations are installed? To find out to what extent your underground car park is fire-safe, we recommend carrying out a risk and needs analysis to examine all the objectives and provide clear answers to ensure that the level of safety achieved is adequate. Lybover FIRE can guide and support you in this. Thanks to our years of expertise and extensive product range, we always offer the best tailor-made solution. Contact our sales engineers for more information.