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European thematic network on fire in tunnels


Three major European projects, known by their acronyms DARTS, FIT and UPTUN, are running under the auspices of the European Commission (DG Research, GROWTH Programme). These three projects joined forces in a common symposium to disseminate the important achievements and ongoing developments within these projects in the service of society. The FIT-DARTS-UPTUN 1st International Symposium was held on 4-6 February 2004. The objectives were the presentation and the discussion of finalized draft documents to a large public and a forum for discussion and amendments. The symposium was a successful event that attracted more than 250 participants from over 30 countries for a two day active discussion and dissemination of latest research achievements and ongoing developments in the tunnel safety field. The symposium dealt with the three transport modes (road, rail and metro) and all aspects relating to designing, building, maintaining and upgrading of tunnels and tunnel structures, including human behaviour and hazards, were addressed in an integrated way. The symposium offered latest research results and state of the art overviews with high quality presentations from research, consultancy, industry and governmental organisations. Three panel debates were enriched with the active contributions of the symposium participants. A special poster session gave an overview of all European research projects on safety and tunnels (FIT, DARTS, UPTUN, SAFE-T, VIRTUAL FIRES, SIRTAKI and SAFE TUNNEL) illustrating again the importance and scale of the research activities being developed at present. The follow-up of the 1st International Symposium Safe & Reliable Tunnels is a list of contacts, the proceedings and presentations and the opportunity to set-up a second Symposium Safe & Reliable Tunnels to present future research results, for instance of UPTUN and Safe-T. The proceedings and presentations and photos of the symposium are available on the FIT website for the co-members in order to assure a large dissemination.
Different initiatives were taken during the life time of FIT, such as the joint comment on the proposal for a Directive on minimum safety requirements for tunnels in the Trans-European Road Network with UPTUN, DARTS and FIT, the 1st International Symposium Safe & Reliable Tunnels with a special poster session to give an overview of all European research projects on safety and tunnels (FIT, DARTS, UPTUN, SAFE-T, VIRTUAL FIRES, SIRTAKI and SAFE TUNNEL), the links with UN-ECE, PIARC, ITA This networking should be continued with the future COSUF committee that has as an objective Maintain and develop a network to exchange knowledge, share competences and facilitate the creation of dedicated teams and groups to perform specific (research) activities.
As an essential step towards achieving the objectives, FIT has introduced six consultable databases on fires in tunnels. The six databases are on-line and can be consulted at the FIT website Database 1: RTD on fire safety in tunnels Database 2: A mapping of tunnel test site facilities Database 3: Overview of numerical computer codes for tunnels fires Database 4: Data on safety equipment in tunnels Database 5: Assessment reports on fire accidents in tunnels Database 6: A mapping and overview of upgrade activities on tunnels The databases collect essential information on fire and tunnels: the aim is to provide information, improve knowledge transfer, enhance to collaboration and support benchmarking to the experts on fire and tunnel. For instance, the listing of all research projects with objectives or achievements should improve synergy and avoid duplication; the presentation of numerical models should improve selection and benchmarking. The databases will stay on line as long as the FIT website is operational. This means that the actual content remains available for registered corresponding members. The addition of new information and especially the approval of this information by the database managers is no longer guaranteed. If no solution can be found for the management of the information, the databases will probably be closed for access of new information. This item has to be dealt with in the future to avoid that the database is spoiled. As BBRI is database administrator, this problem can be solved. The databases can be made available to COSUF. Some problems need to be solved related to the physical transfer and the follow-up of the databases.
The database on the corresponding members contains the contact details of about 1400 interested persons and organizations on tunnel and fire. As such it is an interesting tool for communication. It has been used for the electronic E-news letters of FIT. Also in future this contact list can still be used to inform the European tunnel and fire (or safety) organization of at regular basis about the latest developments. For this a transfer to COSUF is being evaluated. But with some same problems are mentioned as above.
The FIT Network was at the heart of the different research initiatives that were launched in the period 2000 2002. In view of the contractual end of the network (February 2005) the initiative was taken to look to the future of the activities and how to continue the valuable collaboration and netwerking. A starting point for this after life was that it should endeavour to include the participation of all running research projects and networks on tunnel and safety. Seven multinational research projects and networks were running on the topic of tunnels and safety: FIT, DARTS, UPTUN, SAFE-T, SIRTAKI, VIRTUAL FIRES and SAFETUNNEL. Five of the seven projects, funded by the European Commission, were initiated in 2001. UPTUN was initiated in 2002 and SafeT in 2003. These projects have in common that they will end in the period 2004-2006. In total, more than 100 companies, research institutes and governmental bodies worked together in these seven projects, which represent at least twice as many involved persons. It would be a great loss if these projects and networks would simply end when their contract is finished. Valuable networks would come to an end as well, despite the crucial dissemination and exploitation phases and the need for a continuous further development of knowledge. Having this in mind, FIT took the initiative to explore the wishes and possibilities to keep the networks of the seven projects alive and a task force consisting of representatives of all seven projects was formed. Several options and formula s were elaborated to look for the most desirable and effective formula in an ad-hoc Task Force with representatives of the different research projects and networks that was organised jointly with two FIT steering committees. The outcome of this process is the creation of a Committee on Operational Safety of Underground Facilities under the umbrella of ITA. The initiative is supported by PIARC. The ITA general assembly in 2005 approved this proposal with the following press release. ITA Committee on Safety of Tunnels in Operation: The general assembly 2005 followed the proposal of the Executive Council to create a "Committee on Safety of Tunnels in Operation". The initiative started from the 7 EU launched research projects and networks in consequence of severe fire accidents in European road tunnels during the last couple of years. The project represents about 100 institutions, research companies, academic institutes, owners and suppliers from all over Europe. The committee will be open for all interested bodies worldwide. Alfred Haack from ITA was appointed as Chairman and Didier Lacroix from PIARC as Vice Chairman. Set at international level, this committee will act as a network which continues and extends the activities performed by the research projects and thematic networks funded under the 5th framework programme of the European Union in fields related to tunnel safety, namely DARTS, FIT, UPTUN, Safe-T, SafeTunnel, Sirtaki, Virtualfires. The objectives of this committee are: - Maintain and develop a network to exchange knowledge, share competences and facilitate the creation of dedicated teams and groups to perform specific (research) activities - Facilitate co-operation worldwide. - Possible international funding. - Promote safety by fostering innovation, raising awareness and confidence of decision-makers, professional end-users, financers, risk managers, international forums and other stakeholders and helping to the development of regulations. The Committee on Operational Safety of Underground Facilities (COSUF) will be officially launched in May 2006.
The General report presents the outcome of the FIT activities. After the introduction of the FIT Network, the general approach to tunnel fire safety is presented. This chapter can be considered as a strategic introduction to the consecutive safety aspects and the integrated approach to safety in tunnels. It introduces the highlights of the technical reports of the FIT network with the executive summaries on design fire scenarios, fire safe design and fire response management. The Technical reports on the FIT workpackages presents the detailled reflexion and results of the network on the items in more then 450 pages state of the art research work. The reports are available from the FIT website after registration as a corresponding member. Technical report Part 1 Design fire scenarios describes recommendations on design fire scenarios for road, rail and metro tunnels. Design fires to cover different relevant scenarios (e.g. design fires referring to the evacuation of people, design fires referring to ventilation purpose or design fires referring to the structural load) are presented and recommended. In Technical report Part 2 Fire Safe Design, a compilation of relevant guidelines, regulations, standards or current best practices from European member states (and important tunnel countries like e.g. Japan and USA) is given. The analysis is focused on all fire safety elements regarding tunnels properly said and are classified according to the transport nature: road, rail and metro. The occurrence of a fire in a tunnel provokes a need for response from the tunnel users, the operators and the emergency services. The Technical report Part 3 Fire response management presents the best practices which should be adopted by these different categories to ensure a high level of safety. The reports will be available on the FIT website. As a dissemination activity the General report will also be distributed by E-mailing to the corresponding members and it will also be made available at the COSUF start-up activity end of May. The reports are high quality state of the art reports and will be used by the tunnel and fire community for reference and consultation. The large dissemination strategy should guaranty this.
The FIT website ( is the basic tool for dissemination and communication. The FIT website contains the 6 consultable databases, the co-membership, the presentations of the International Symposium on Safe and Reliable Tunnels (Prague 2004) and the technical reports. The reports are available after registration as a corresponding member. Also 6 months after the official contractual end date of FIT, the FIT website welcomes about 1500 visitors per month and about one new corresponding member per day. The FIT website will continue to exist for at least 2 years after the contract date, containing the different reports, databases and articles. However, the static part of the website will not longer be filled up with new information. To avoid this inconvenience it is being evaluated to make a link to the future COSUF website or to have a reduced FIT presentation page including the major output of FIT in that website.
The networking and collaboration that was at the basis for the success of FIT and was proven via the support to the set-up of the UPTUN RTD project, the EOI for the 6 FP, the Safeguard initiative, & will continue to exist. The COSUF committee has as an objective Maintain and develop a network to exchange knowledge, share competences and facilitate the creation of dedicated teams and groups to perform specific (research) activities.

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