What you know about Russia?

Fire business

There is a very good fire market. And it is very bad. How come? 

Russia is very well coded country. Since Soviet's times we have had well developed full list of fire standards (called NPB), building standards (a.k.a. SNiP), Fire State Law ("On fire control") 69-FZ, Fire Safety Rules (PPB-01), fire certification system (SSPB, GOST). The requirements are really strict: for instance even a 10sq.m. room must have at least 2 smoke detectors. In each building. In all the country. 

The Administartive Code of Russia has several chapters regarding fire regulation violation. And they are quite strict - good fines and even administrative business arrestment up to 90 days. Fire inspectors usualy are very well educated as each of them has a dergree from State Fire Service Academy/University/Colleges and again usualy are not a very decent chap for those who are being inspected. 

So, it must be a very good market then! Yes, my our estimation shows more than 10'000'000 smoke detectors are sold every year. So, what is bad? The fire requirement redundancy dramaticaly rises costs of fire safety and accordingly pushs people to find bypass routs. And the fire industry helps - there is several manufacturers who build not "equipment against fire", but "equipment for fire inspectors". They are installed just to get a "tick" in inspection report. There missions are: a) to be found by fire inspector; b) not to activate false alarm. That's it. This 2nd type "detectors" cost about $3-$4... base included... For those who is not aware: only a base for smoke detector usualy costs 2-3 bucks. There are about 50 (!!) local "fire devices" manufacturers. And unfortunately our current fire certification system is not able to separate 1st and 2nd class devices. 

So it is a bad market for quality product manufacturers. Times are changing for sure, but not too fast. The problem is that the new (free-market, not communist) Russian society is a bit young to control standards development and this function is still in governmental hands (VNIIPO). And they are tooooo slow, as probably in some other countries as well.

Fire service structure

There is a military type structure of fire service. Currently it included in a so called "MChS" or "Emercom" - Ministry of Russian Federation for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters, thus until 2002 it was a part of Ministry of Interiors. 

According to the State Fire Law 69-FZ fire service may exist in different forms: Federal, Municipal, Corporate (departmental), Private and Volunteer. In reality we have 80-90% Federal, a bit but growing Municipal, some of Corporate and embrionic Private fire services. Volunteer fire service is not legal yet and we are waiting for coming State Law for Fire Volunteers(*). 

The fire inspection part has around 16'000 officers what is a very 
smallarmy to cover all the country and they are too busy to explain you what is required in compliance with fire regulation. Therefore they must punish you whatever happens. It is said their salary is around $6K a year. We do not say about bribes here. Even if someone just started thinking why Russia is so much corrupted.

There is several educational organizations within the Ministry. And some of scientific ones. The most known scientific agency is VNIIPO (All-Russian Research Institute for Fire Protection) all you can find in English about them is here. This is perhaps the most powerful organization when you need resolving millions of questions in fire safety. They develop fire standards; R&D fire equipment from fire wires to fire robots; they interpret badly written fire standards; they create test procedures for fire equipment and they test fire products. Bad or good, right or wrong, but it is what it is. 
Without further ado fire and building businesses must have connections there. 
VNIIPO serves also as a fire expert in criminal procedures in federal courts.

(*) as of April 2010 

Fire statistics

According official statistic (many specialists say it's seriously understated) we have 15'000 people perished in fires in 2009 (our population is 142M). As compared to US there was 3'320 deaths in fire (in 2008, population about 315M).

Officials say: on average, 549 fires occurred on the territory of the Russian Federation every day, where daily 42 people perished and 35 people were injured, 166 buildings, 27 items of automotive engineering and 8 heads of livestock were destroyed by fire.
This official statistic says about structure fires only, not wildfires. 

There is about 1% of GDP (all countries average) cost of fires yearly.

There is about 85'-90'000 people are killed by 7'500'000 fires yearly worldwide.
The estimation of XX centure cumulative losses in fires is about 5'000'000 people.
Fire protection business in Russia for foreigners. Russian fire safety regulation, approvals, fire detection extinguishing certificate GOST GOST-R VNIIPO, legal support consultancy Moscow Sochi Novosibirsk Peterburg SNiP NPB interpretation advocacy lawyer adviser investigation fire AHJs mandatory training declaration contestation liability insurance code equivalency FRA fire risk assessment