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ESCAPE ROUTES

Fire protection engineers this week called for a shake-up of tunnel fire regulations throughout Europe following the Kaprun blaze which killed 156 people.

The Confederation of Fire Protection Associations for Europe has urged European Union ministers to scrutinise tunnel fire safety, with special emphasis on escape.

'Most of these tunnels have serious shortcomings as regards escape facilities. The only exits are at the tunnel openings, ' said Dr Jim Denney, chairman of CFPA Europe.

Denney spoke as investigations into the Kaprun tragedy went into their second week. The cause of the blaze has still to be identified.

Denney wants the harmonisation of tunnel safety standards across the EU. 'Every tunnel is different, but we need to assess the fire risk from a common framework, ' he said.

'If I am in a tunnel in Italy I want to know that the escape passages are in the same locations as they are in Sweden, ' said Dr Haukur Ingason from the Swedish National Testing and Research Institute.

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