The Lithuanian Housing Chamber points out that in the extremely cold season the risk of fires increases. Statistics show that in 2020, 147 fires occurred in apartment buildings in Vilnius city. Accidents still unavoidable due to insufficient attention to fire safety are still imminent.  The main problems to address are electrical installation networks, loaded or locked stairwells, not equipped with smoke detectors, and the pandemic has pushed fire safety into the country. 

There is a lots of problems with fire safety issues

 “Problems begin at the installation of electricity and end with completely different means. One of the biggest problems, from the general perspective of the partial ownership, is the loading or locking of stairwells, stairwells, warehouses or cellars, the loading of passageways: in case of fire, people have difficulty loading corridors or stairwells to pass, they can snag, turn over, panic can be crushed by neighbors. There is also a problem with locking staircase doors, perhaps for safety reasons, but without thinking about the fire, when a fire will require that door to be unlocked quickly,” says Fire Safety Specialist, Lecturer Robertas Ūselis.

Private ownership of apartment buildings is another challenge. There are other dangers here: electrical installation or storage of combustible materials in basements. ” It is no secret that many people keep illegal and smuggle fuel or thinners, solvents. They will not catch fire on their own, but when an external source of fire appears, they can easily catch fire or even explode,” says R. Ūselis. The specialist observes that the recommendation to have a fire extinguisher in the apartment is incapacitated. If, for example, it is mandatory to have a smoke sensor, the fire extinguisher is only recommended. But often people have neither one or the other. According to Mr. Ūselis, this is already an educational problem that is really lacking.  At least from a pandemic point of view, public communication, which was previously directed at fire safety, has simply disappeared.

Fightening lack of funds

While during the pandemic, we spend a lot of time in homes or buildings when asked about the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on fire safety, Robertas Ūselis says that concerns about fire safety have diminished. People’s attention has moved in a completely different direction now, the issue of hygiene is most concerned, and this forgets the importance of fire safety, which we can see in the event of a deterioration in the market. “I don’t know how it will be in the future, people’s savings are probably falling, but it’s very scary that fire safety doesn’t become something that’s forgotten because of a lack of funds,” says Robertas Ūselis.

Lithuanian Housing Chamber: informing and training residents is necessary

“Our aim is not only to help administration companies or communities to operate smoothly, but we also care about the population, their rights and their security. The issue of fire safety is particularly relevant, and in the context of a pandemic, we do a great service for ourselves. It is very important to constantly take care of fire safety, to maintain buildings: not only the residential area, but also the economic part of the buildings”, says Daiva Matonienė, President of the Lithuanian Chamber of Housing. The Lithuanian Housing Chamber will continue to take care of informing residents and administrators, providing education through training and seminars on various topics, including fire safety training.