Beyond keeping the industry updated on the latest updates on the most important topics, the FIA is actively involved in these topics through its work with Government, councils and committees. The section aims to serve as a collection of the FIA’s involvement with a variety of topics and will be continuously updated moving forward with links to the relevant news story where available. This will allow one to see what FIA have done and are doing to improve the industry for the members.

COVID-19

The impact of COVID-19 is being felt right across the UK and all corners of the industry have been impacted by COVID-19. The FIA has and will continue to be the voice of the fire industry.

This has been shown by the FIA receiving a letter directly from the Minister of State for Security and working closely with NFCC to clarify the status of fire professionals as key workers.

Grenfell & Hackitt Report

The FIA has been pushing for years for changes in the regulatory environment and competency levels in the fire safety industry. The FIA has responded to the call for the various organizations within the fire safety industry to take a lead in resolving the problems that clearly exist within fire safety professionals and the construction industry in order to ensure that tragedies such as the Grenfell Tower fire never happen again.

As a result, the FIA have had significant input on the post-Grenfell Hackitt report and the recommendations which have gone back to government via the competency steering group.

For all Grenfell and Hackitt Report updates and to see the ways in which the FIA have played a key part in shaping these important industry-wide changes.

Brexit

FIA work tirelessly to promote, improve and perfect fire protection methods, devices, services and apparatus

The United Kingdom’s relationship with Europe is paramount for all industries, including the fire industry. The FIA has a variety of strong relationship with key organizations in Europe to ensure that the members’ views and interests are being represented at the highest level. FIA will continue to liaise with the government on wherever they need assistance.

The FIA is privileged to have fire industry experts as directors, in the councils and amongst the members. FIA work tirelessly to promote, improve and perfect fire protection methods, devices, services and apparatus.

Research

As Europe’s fire-related trade association the resources, values and ethics are dedicated to support and improve fire safety, not only within the UK but also Internationally with the works on EN and ISO standards. Part of the commitment to the members and public safety is to re-investing money into fire safety research.

The FIA and its councils have been heavily involved in a variety of important research projects, from the development of test methods to assess video flame and smoke detectors to live investigations of false fire alarms and many more.

MHCLG

With a long-standing commitment in both directions, the FIA are involved at a number of levels with MHCLG (and the LGA). Most recently FIA delivered a collaborative guidance document (by FIA, DHF Door & Hardware Federation and SBD Secured by Design) titled “A Guide for Selecting Flat Entrance Doorsets” which was very well received by MHCLG.

This document is now used for housing associations, landlords, building owners and local authorities in England. The next guidance document should be on smoke and fire curtain guidance in collaboration with the Association for Specialist Fire Protection.

DIT, HS2 Rail Link and NHS

The FIA export Council and CEO are well entrenched with the Department of International Trade/DSO

The FIA export Council and CEO are well entrenched with the Department of International Trade/DSO at a number of levels. The DIT has just employed a full time “fire” person into the team which is a clear indication of the commitment to support the fire industry in overseas influence and ultimately sales.

FIA is used as part of the technical support team when looking at overall equipment and installation requirements - not detailed design, but more what they should be looking for e.g. ensuring the companies they use are the third party certified to ensure and prove professionalism.

Working with them to assure them on continuity of supply for fire safety systems post BREXIT.

Police & Fire Service Parliamentary Scheme and Euralarm

Usually held at House of Lords – a well-attended set of meetings by numerous peers and MPs. FIA involvement is to support MP’s going “on-site” with various F&RS to understand their day to day issues and to inform them of the part that the fire industry plays in this scheme.

A number of the FIA secretariat hold key positions in the relevant sections of Euralarm. This has always been a key organization to be involved with and never more so post BREXIT.

The FIA is also involved on a number of levels with NFPA, UL and FM of the USA and help guide ISO standards and the new IFSS.

ECHO and RNLI

  • Electronic Call Handling Operation
    The FIA is working on Electronic Call Handling Operation alongside the British Security Industry Association and Electrical Contractors’ Association. This is a project that is developing quickly and has the potential to be a real positive change across the emergency services.

Currently, it is focused on security connections connected to Alarm Receiving Centers (ARC’s) and Police, the next stage is looking at fire alarm systems connected to ARC’s and the Fire & Rescue Services.

  • Royal National Lifeboat Institution
    FIA CEO sits on the fire safety advisory board for the RNLI, attending meetings around the country to discuss how the industry can best support the RNLI’s fire safety ambitions.
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In case you missed it

How Technology Helps London Fire Brigade With Incident Command
How Technology Helps London Fire Brigade With Incident Command

Drones give Incident Commanders an aerial view, increasing their situational awareness of fires and helping them to develop tactics to tackle them. Station Officer Lee Newman details how the technology was implemented by London Fire Brigade and the continued benefits. Identify external risks The Grenfell Tower fire has resulted in revisions to several operational procedures and the introduction of new equipment within the Brigade. A few months after the fire, the Brigade was tasked with setting up a trial to test the feasibility of having a drone capability to identify external risks and assess building stability at incidents, providing essential safety information that could facilitate ongoing internal firefighting operations. Implement the use of drones The Brigade implemented the use of drones and acquired a Matrice 210 V1 and a Phantom 4 Working with partners who had an existing drone capability, as well as drone experts, the Brigade began work to implement the use of drones and acquired a Matrice 210 V1 and a Phantom 4 as a trainer and reserve drone. In the summer of 2018, an Emergency Services bespoke course was run by Essex Police to train the Brigade’s team of drone pilots, who were all PfCO qualified within one week. From start to finish, it took just nine months to get London Fire Brigade’s drone team operational. Working of the drones On its first day of being available for incidents, the team received an order to attend a 15-pump fire at a leisure center, which was under renovation. They were asked to confirm if there were cylinders on the roof of the building and immediately put the drone to use. The team flew and relayed the camera footage onto a large screen that was fitted into a van provided for the trial. The drone footage was able to identify, to the Incident Commander’s satisfaction, that the cylinders were actually rolls of asphalt due to be laid on the roof as part of the renovation. If the drone concept could have proven its use in one job, this was it. The information from the drone allowed the Incident Commander to decide not to make it ‘cylinders confirmed’ and saved a lot of unnecessary extra appliance movements. Applications of drone Since that first callout, the team has been to around 300 incidents of six pumps or more, including persons in the water, fires, and various missing people’s incidents both in London and into other counties, assisting police forces. From start to finish, it took just nine months to get London Fire Brigade’s drone team operational Drone inventory The Brigade’s drone capability inventory includes a Matrice 300 with an H20T dual thermal and optical camera; a DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual with multi attachments; a Mavic Air 2 and a Yuneec 520. The Brigade also has a Teradek live streaming device and multiple tablets for receiving the streamed footage. The Brigade operates with two Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs – plug-in hybrid SUVs – and has split the drone equipment into two, with one vehicle carrying the drone and batteries, and the other carrying all the support kit and ancillaries. Working in dark conditions The drones are permitted to fly up to 400 ft above ground level or higher in an emergency and can fly as fast as 50 mph. They also can act as a loudspeaker to give instructions or reassurance and shine a bright spotlight in dark or low light conditions. 24/7 service The Brigade has eight pilots trained and operates a 24/7 service The Brigade has eight pilots trained and operates a 24/7 service. The team is working closely with its blue light partners, including the: Metropolitan Police Service, several search and rescue teams, and a host of fire services surrounding the capital, as well as giving advice to other upcoming drone teams around the UK. Use of drone in future The Brigade’s drone capability has been molded to how it sees the future and what it holds in the way of drone use. For example, the Brigade has developed a capability to drop water rescue aides to people at water incidents, which helps to keep them afloat long enough to be rescued. The drone can also be used alongside the swift water rescue teams to provide situational awareness of hazards and the resulting risks during the rescue phase. Delivering fire escape tools The Brigade also invested in fire escape hoods in late 2018 and has already demonstrated how one might be delivered via a drone to a balcony above the height of an aerial appliance while using the Mavic Enterprise 2 to relay instructions via the loudspeakers. These possible new uses are pushing the boundaries of the Brigade’s original concept and demonstrate how London Fire Brigade works to stay ahead of the curve. 

Chicago Bans Dogs From Firehouses, Despite Long-Held Tradition
Chicago Bans Dogs From Firehouses, Despite Long-Held Tradition

There is a long tradition of canines in the fire service, from Dalmatians riding shotgun in the fire truck to mixed breeds rescued from fires that later become the fire company mascot. The tradition has taken a hit recently in Chicago, where dogs are no longer allowed at firehouses after one station dog killed a smaller breed canine near a firehouse in the Englewood neighborhood. The incident The firehouse dog in Chicago, named Bones, was a mixed breed stray rescued off the street that was living at Engine 116 at 60th Street and Ashland Avenue. A neighbor was walking her smaller breed dog past the firehouse and watched in horror as Bones attacked and killed her small dog. After the incident, Chicago’s Acting Fire Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt issued a department memo: “Any and all prior permissions for dogs in the fire stations or on fire apparatuses are hereby revoked … effective immediately.” Chicago Firehouse dogs Most of Chicago’s firehouse dogs are strays that were picked up and brought to firefighters by the public. Fire crews and paramedics care for the dogs, train them, feed them and get them inoculated and spayed or neutered, then ask formal permission to keep the dogs on site. Historically, permission has been granted, in effect saving the dogs from being euthanized. Breed of choice The tradition of dogs and the fire service goes back centuries, to the 1700s, when carriage dogs first trotted alongside horse-drawn fire carriages. Dalmatians were the breed of choice, given their good temperament, calming effect on the horses Dalmatians were the breed of choice, given their good temperament, calming effect on the horses, and grace under pressure. The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) began utilizing Dalmatians as early as the 1870s. Dalmatians as firehouse ambassadors When motorized vehicles came on the scene, Dalmatians were already associated with firefighters, who continued to keep them on-site as firehouse residents and mascots. Increasingly, Dalmatians and other dogs became public ambassadors for firehouses and were involved in public education about fire safety and emergency preparedness for school and community groups. For example, Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog, a Dalmatian from Clarksville, Ark., was a character in her own set of children’s books about fire safety and traveled around the country teaching children about fire tips. reduce stress, provide comfort Currently, firehouse dogs are other breeds, too, many rescued from house fires or other tragedies. Firehouses often adopt dogs, who become symbols of resiliency, bravery, fortitude – and provide comfort and companionship for firefighters who face high levels of stress on the job. After the 9/11 attacks, two firefighters from Rochester, N.Y., gifted the FDNY Ladder 20 company a Dalmatian puppy, appropriately named Twenty. The dog served as a source of comfort to the firefighters, who lost seven members of the company in 9/11. Dogs recognize signals Taken in as a stray in 1929, a dog named Nip served 10 years with New York’s Engine Company No. 203. During his service, the dog was injured by broken glass, falling debris, scalding burns, and bruises from falling off the fire engine. Nip could recognize all bells and signals. On fire scenes, Nip could alert firefighters if he knew something was wrong and sometimes run into burning buildings to look for victims. Unfortunately, Nip was killed by a hit-and-run driver in front of the firehouse in 1939 (and was stuffed by a taxidermist and displayed at the firehouse until 1974). Dogs promote fire safety Dogs promote fire safety outside the firehouse Dogs also promote fire safety outside the firehouse. For example, accelerant-sniffing dogs are trained to detect minute traces of accelerants that may be used to start a fire, according to the State Farm Arson Dog Program. The special bond between firefighters and dogs is the stuff of legend, despite the recent unfortunate events in Chicago – an ignoble scar on a long, colorful history of dogs in the fire service. Hopes remain that the decision can somehow be reversed, based on social media postings. “This is the first tragedy I have heard of in … 25 years,” said the administrator of the Firehouse Pups group.

What Impact Has COVID-19 Had On The Fire Industry?
What Impact Has COVID-19 Had On The Fire Industry?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had ramifications for almost every industry, some more than others. With the pandemic stretching well into a second year, the non-medical consequences continue, and many are wondering about which of the required changes might become permanent. As regards the fire sector, we asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What impact has COVID-19 had on the fire industry?

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