Engineering a safer tomorrow with the IFE

Paul Trew IFE Technical Director

Share this content


The Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) Technical Director Paul Trew discusses his vision for the Institution, focusing on innovation, collaboration, and education in fire safety

The recent appointment of Paul Trew as the Technical Director at the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) marks a notable transition in the organisation’s ongoing mission to enhance fire safety standards and practices.

The IFE, recognised for its dedication to the advancement of fire engineering, stands at the forefront of addressing contemporary challenges in this specialised field.

With Trew’s extensive experience in fire safety and his previous role within the IFE, his leadership is anticipated to bring a new depth of technical insight and strategic direction to the institution.

Fire engineering, a discipline that intricately combines scientific principles, engineering techniques, and effective management, plays an essential role in the protection and safety of communities globally.

This field requires a persistent focus on adaptation, learning, and innovation, particularly in response to the demands of modern infrastructure, new technological developments, and evolving societal expectations.

In this context, the IFE’s role is more relevant than ever, serving as a key contributor to the establishment of fire safety standards and the development of a skilled professional community.

The timing of Trew’s appointment aligns with significant global challenges in fire safety.

Factors such as rapid urbanisation, the introduction of new technologies, and environmental considerations are reshaping the nature of fire risks.

The complexity of modern buildings and the advent of technologies like electric vehicles introduce new dimensions to fire safety that require a sophisticated and informed approach.

Trew’s experience, notably his tenure with the London Fire Brigade and his involvement as a Technical Advisor at the IFE, positions him well to address these challenges.

His background provides a comprehensive perspective on both the operational and strategic aspects of fire safety, an essential combination for leading the IFE’s technical initiatives.

In his new role, Trew will focus on innovation, collaboration, and education within the fire safety community.

The IFE’s role in disseminating best practices and knowledge makes it a central figure in shaping the future of fire safety.

With Trew as Technical Director, the IFE is poised to enhance its impact in these areas, drawing on his expertise in contemporary technologies and his experience in strategic fire safety management.

Trew’s focus on the utilisation of digital platforms and the integration of sustainability into fire safety practices reflects a comprehensive and modern approach.

The use of digital technologies in training and knowledge dissemination represents a shift towards more accessible and wide-reaching educational methods.

The focus on sustainability aligns with global environmental concerns, highlighting the importance of environmentally responsible practices in fire safety.

To explore these themes and understand Trew’s vision for the IFE, IFSJ editor Iain Hoey sat down with Trew to discuss his approach and thoughts on the evolving landscape of fire engineering and safety, his aims for the IFE and understanding the importance of his role in this critical juncture of the institution’s journey.

What inspired you to take on the role of Technical Director at the IFE?

I’ve always been inspired by the institution’s commitment to advancing fire safety and being a member always helped me within my career, deepening my understanding of fire.

Having spent years in the fire sector, I saw an opportunity to contribute to the profession on a broader scale, guiding the IFE in shaping the future of fire safety through technical excellence.

In what ways has your past work in the fire sector influenced your vision for the IFE?

Having served as Deputy Assistant Commissioner and Head of Fire Safety at London Fire Brigade, and more recently as Technical Advisor at the IFE, my work towards emerging technology and electric vehicles will greatly assist in my efforts to enhance global fire safety standards.

In my previous position, I led initiatives to develop and implement cutting-edge fire safety measures, particularly in response to the evolving landscape of technology so I’m looking forward to continuing efforts in this area.

Are there any immediate areas of focus or initiatives you’re excited to embark on in your new role?

Support the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) to develop the institution’s involvement and views on contemporary issues in the sector, as well as working closely with IFE headquarters staff to ensure the improvement of technical resources for members.

Could you share your thoughts on leading the IFE’s technical collaborations and special interest groups?

Of course! I’ll be developing the IFE’s position on larger sector issues and informing members about the Institution’s participation in various working groups and industry forums.

My responsibilities will focus on working closely with similar organisations and institutions around the world whilst acting as a liaison for worldwide professional registration – a key focus for the IFE this year.

Will the IFE update its qualifications and competency frameworks?

One of my main areas will be aligning competency frameworks to emerging trends and new standards.

I’ll be working closely with similar institutions and PEI’s worldwide, acting as a liaison for global professional registration – this is a massive focus for the IFE in 2024.

How will digital platforms impact the IFE’s future?

Digital platforms are integral to the future of the IFE and we intend to leverage technology to improve training programmes, webinars, and knowledge-sharing.

Exploring virtual collaboration technologies to link our worldwide community and facilitate the exchange of ideas and best practices is part of this.

How will the IFE tackle sustainability challenges in fire safety?

We’ll focus on promoting environmentally responsible practices within the fire safety sector and encouraging the adoption of sustainable materials and technologies.

How do you see fire engineering practices evolving

I foresee a stronger emphasis on data-driven decision-making and integrated, holistic approaches to fire safety.

The IFE will continue to play a critical role at the forefront of these changes, providing guidance, and facilitating knowledge exchange among professionals.

This article was originally published in the February 2024 issue of International Fire & Safety Journal. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

Receive the latest breaking news straight to your inbox