Fire protection in historical buildings and museums - protecting people and cultural heritage

Fire safety in all buildings is a critical topic, but fire protection in historical buildings and museums is also of great cultural importance. Fire and the consequential damage can result in monetary losses that run into the tens of millions of Euros and the loss of irreplaceable historical artifacts. Restoring these damaged buildings and items can be very costly and sometimes impossible.

Statistics that speak for themselves

Did you know that:

Between 2000 and 2012, Germany suffered the loss of 70 historical buildings, including:

  • Nuremberg Transport Museum: Fire destroyed an entire historical shed and damaged 24 pieces of precious rolling stock, resulting in approx. €20 - 40 million in damage.

  • Anna Amalia Library in Weimar: Fire destroyed the building structure and a large part of the book and music collection, resulting in about €80 million in damage.

From January 2002 to June 2006, at least seven heritage buildings were lost or damaged per month in the U.K. A well-known incident was the fire at Windsor Castle in 1992, which resulted in restoration costs of about £40 million:

  • Over 100 rooms damaged

  • Walls and inside structures damaged

  • Part of the Queen’s private art collection lost

Meeting various challenges

Devising a fire protection concept for a historical building or a museum is a complex task. Historical buildings reflect the state of the art at the time of their construction. Materials were used that are often viewed critically today with regard to fire safety. The biggest challenge is to ensure optimal fire protection of the building structure and the interior (stucco, ceiling and wall paintings, paneling, furniture and chandeliers) as well as the historical artifacts inside a building, without affecting their aesthetic value and historical integrity.

For a sound fire safety concept, you need to consider the protection of:

Visitors and staff - with the earliest possible fire detection (with genuine alarm guarantee) and intelligent evacuation.

  • Early and reliable fire detection

  • Phased evacuation

Building structure and interior architectural details of high cultural and historic significance - by integrating the latest fire and life safety requirements, while preserving the historical character of the building

Historical objects - with the earliest possible fire detection, while using appropriate extinguishing agents to avoid irrevocable damage

  • Early and reliable fire detection

  • Innovative and tailored extinguishing systems