The Centre is primarily concerned with the practical problem of reducing fire waste rather than with academic research. The main focus of its work, the collection, analysis and dissemination of internationally comparable fire cost statistics, is thus seen as a means to an end: persuading governments to adopt coherent fire strategies aimed at reducing national fire costs.

Between 1975 and 1978, The Geneva Association sponsored research on European fire costs by Tom Wilmot at Sussex University. This led to the publication of a report, European Fire Costs – The Wasteful Statistical Gap, which formed the basis of a contribution by Mr Wilmot to a pilot study on fire statistics initiated by a United Nations Working Party in 1981. Subsequently Mr Wilmot, with the support of The Geneva Association, founded the World Fire Statistics Centre to carry forward this work within a more structured organisational framework.

European Initiatives

For some years the Centre has been trying to interest the European Community Commission and the European Parliament in the inter-related issues of fire protection and fire costs. Despite some initially promising contacts, these approaches had achieved little success. However, a European fire statistics seminar organised jointly with the Federation of European Union Fire Officers Associations (FEU) in Augsburg on 19th June 2000 ended with an agreement on the establishment of a core group, to which the Centre is providing the secretariat, to develop proposals for a European fire statistics database to meet the needs of likely users, and this offers the prospect of concrete progress in a direction which the European Commission could support.

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