Some 20 pct. of Dutch bars fail fire safety checks; Calls to make inspections public

A Dutch Firetruck in action on the heathland near Ede P.J.L Laurens/Wikimedia Commons

Between 10 and 20 percent of Dutch bars, restaurants and clubs fail fire safety checks, the Netherlands' national fire department Brandweer Nederland said to BNR. This is impossible for consumers to know, as only Rotterdam puts fire safety inspection reports online. Safety experts are therefore calling that publishing inspection reports on fire safety becomes the norm in the country, the broadcaster reports

Ira Helsloot, professor of fire safety at Raboud University Nijmegen, is one of those calling for all municipalities to publish the fire safety checks for businesses in their city. According to him, the Netherlands does not have a good view on where is safe and where isn't. 

He also believes that the Netherlands is approaching fire safety in the wrong way. "We are currently looking at very much the wrong things when it comes to fire safety", Helsloot said to BNR. "Things that we know from 80 years of research do not matter. Our regulations contain many nonsensical things that are easy to check, but that won't help in case of a fire. While things that do help in a fire are often much harder to check."

Saskia Deerenberg of Dutch hospitality association KHN thinks that publishing fire safety reports is a bad idea. "For two reasons, the publication of the reports is only fair if all hospitality businesses are checked by the fire department. There are more than 45,000 hospitality businesses in the Netherlands, so impossible." she said to BNR. The other problem is the differences in fire safety violations. According to Deerenberg, a business can fail its inspection for anything ranging from a misplaced trash can to a flammable roof. "And on such a website nuance will disappear. Visiters will only see 100% fire safe or 0% fire safe businesses."