Dealing with cold fire scenarios

Last updated: Dec. 1998
6 DIN A4 pages

vfdb guideline 10/06 is identical in content with VdS guideline 2217.

Increased environmental awareness together with tightened legal requirements have resulted in even smaller house fires being considered environmental contaminations and requiring corresponding expensive clean-up. This urgently requires technical information about the actual hazard and coordinated concepts for dealing with cold fire scenarios.

After extinguishing the active fire and cooling down of the fire location the organic hazardous substances present in the flue gases are increasingly attached to soot. This stable attachment to soot actually prevents the organic hazardous substances generated during the fire from entering the human organism e.g. through the skin or respiratory organs and from causing damage. In spite of the presence of toxic substances there is therefore no increased hazard potential from cold fire scenarios. This experience of fire damage in recent years has been confirmed by the Federal Office for Health, according to which the biological availability of hazardous substances adsorbed by soot is low.

For fires in domestic areas increased exposure to hazardous substances is usually not expected as long as no major amounts of PVC (e.g. heavily covered cable ducts in cellars) have been incinerated or smouldered. The cleaning and clean-up tasks can therefore also be carried out by the affected persons themselves. However, it is recommended to observe protective measures to prevent that e.g. stirred up dust is inhaled or the skin surface is contaminated extensively.

A corresponding guidance for residents affected by fire should be kept by fire brigades as an information leaflet and given to affected citizens. The present sample of such a uniform information leaflet by fire brigades has been prepared by the umbrella organisation of German Insurance Companies (GDV) in cooperation with the German Fire Protection Association (vfdb) taking into account vfdb guideline 10/03 "Hazardous substances resulting from fires" (vfdb journal 3/97, p. 102 ff.) and the "Guidelines for fire damage clean-up" (VdS 2357) and has been jointly recommended for use.

The information sheet can be individually adapted by mentioning local contacts and relevant regional reference addresses. However, the basic texts should not be changed in its content.

Reference source

The complete guideline is available from the VdS-Verlag. Since 28/10/2002 the full text of VdS 2217 / vfdb 10/06 is also available for direct  download on the VdS homepage.

To the VdS-Verlag: Sourcing address for vfdb guidelines