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Fire Industry Association hosts annual 2008 AGM & Luncheon

Fire Industry Association hosts annual 2008 AGM & Luncheon

The 2008 AGM and annual lunch of the Fire Industry Association (FIA) proved to be a 'must attend' event for anybody involved in the fire protection industry, with some 300 members and their guests at a brand new venue for the association, the Brewery in London.

In his lunch address at the event on 11 November, FIA Chairman Martin Harvey pointed out a number of highlights for the Association since the last AGM. He spoke of the introduction of the new Chief Fire Officer's Association (CFOA) Policy on False Alarms in which the FIA had been the only fire trade association involved in what is already being recognised as a ground breaking piece of work. He welcomed the launch of the FIA Fire Risk Assessment Council under the Chairmanship of Colin Todd who spoke at the AGM of the uncertainty currently surrounding the competency of fire risk assessors and the vital role that the new Council has to play in creating a risk assessment regime based around best practice and third party certification.

The growth in membership achieved by the FIA was a significant highlight, with more than 50 new members, many of whom were attending an FIA AGM and lunch for the first time. In continuing the growth theme against a backdrop of economic uncertainty, Martin welcomed the development in the FIA training programme demonstrated by some 290 courses presented and over 2,700 delegates instructed this year alone. In addition, Gent by Honeywell have been instrumental in sourcing funding and colleges to run a Fire Detection and Alarm Apprenticeship scheme that FIA has also offered to its members. This apprenticeship has already rolled out at seven colleges across the country with the potential for more colleges to get involved if demand can be further increased.

Martin also recognised that it was not just about looking at what had been achieved but what the focus was for the Association going forward, citing - "Increased regional contact with our members and the other stakeholders in the fire industry" as a key initiative for the forthcoming year. He saw "the FIA as at its best when it is out giving the message of quality products and systems designed, installed and maintained by quality companies that can prove their competence."

Other notable objectives for the year included:

  • Seminars presented in conjunction with local fire brigades to raise awareness levels in businesses concerning the Fire Safety Order
  • A 'Training Zone' to be introduced at International Firex 2009, held at the NEC, Birmingham in May
  • An enhanced profile in the non-fire media, with specific target sectors identified as part of an extensive review of the FIA's marketing strategy
  • New training courses, with four currently under development to be rolled out in 2009
  • Regional seminars for target sectors, including Care Homes and Warehouses, to be organised in conjunction with BAFSA and examples of the FIA working with other trade bodies that operate in the fire protection market.

Following Martin's address, two presentations were made: an Honorary FIA Membership to Brian Gibbons in recognition of his considerable work for FETA and in helping to guide through the formation of the FIA as Vice-Chairman, and to John Northey who received the Maurice Bean Memorial Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to fire safety as past editor of FSE magazine and through his ongoing work on European technical standards committees.

Thanks were also given to Sandpiper and Retriever Communications, LPCB, BAFE and Certalarm as joint sponsors of the AGM and to International Firex 2009 as sponsors of the lunchtime drinks reception.

Earlier in the day at the AGM, members were given an overview of the work of the FIA with the meeting's formal business. A two minute silence to observe Remembrance Day was followed by presentations from the Chairmen of each of the Association's Council's (Neil Young, Fire Detection and Alarms Council; Bob Whiteley, Extinguishing Council; Keith Goodwin, Services Council; Tracy Kirk, Export Council). Members were also introduced to Colin Todd, Chairman of the new Fire Risk Assessment Council.

Graham Ellicott CEO, also gave a general presentation on the work of the FIA, using the 2012 Olympics as a datum point for where the Association wants to be, with the ultimate objective being "...the FIA as first port of call for all fire related matters." He also discussed some of the initiatives that the FIA will be undertaking, recognising the importance of continuing to grow the membership and influence of the FIA, but at the same time upholding the standards for which the Association has become known.

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