An Evaluation on Cultural Heritage Fire Risk Management Policies: The UK and Turkey Cases

Uluç A., Şenol Balaban M., Yıldırım Esen S.

TÜBA-KED Türkiye Bilimler Akademisi Kültür Envanteri Dergisi, vol.0, no.24, pp.205-221, 2021 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


Fires threaten cultural heritage and lead to irreversible damages. Loss of life, destruction of buildings and traditional urban tissues are among possible consequences of fire. Major causes of fires that occur at cultural heritage buildings include deficiencies in electrical installations, electrical appliances used during restoration works, unmaintained chimneys, and fire safety negligence. In addition to these factors, historic urban tissues in Turkey are highly vulnerable to fires because of the use of timber as a building material, lack of maintenance, state of condition of buildings, and difficulties in accessing narrow streets in case of emergencies. Fires are often preventable if measures are undertaken at all levels of decision-making processes. The existence and implementation of fire risk management policies that provide guidance regarding the management of fire risk is critical in order to prevent fires through effective measures. However, studies that examine the international and national fire risk management policies and regulatory frameworks are limited. In this context, this study aims to assess policies on fire risk management of cultural heritage by comparing the cases of Turkey and England. First, several examples of the exposure of cultural heritage to fire hazard are presented, and viable fire risk management policies are discussed. Second, international policies regarding fire risk safety for built heritage are examined by focusing on the Confederation of Fire Protection Associations Europe (CFPA-Europe) and National Association of Fire Protection (NFPA). Next, legal frameworks and administrative structures in England and Turkey are evaluated at a national level in terms of their fire risk management policies for cultural heritage. The paper is concluded with suggestions on fire risk management policies for the conservation of cultural heritage based on a comparative analysis of the cases. This research reveals that both England and Turkey examples should have explanatory and legally binding regulations on the fire risk management of cultural heritage.