Categories: Events

Exclusive: Getting back to business


Share this content


International Fire and Safety Journal speaks exclusively with Event Directors from Nineteen Events as they get prepare for the return of industry shows

In September this year, the NEC in Birmingham will host the Emergency Services Show, the Health and Safety Event and the Fire Safety Event. The shows are being co-located together, along with the Security Event and the Facilities Event for the first time, and thousands of visitors are expected to descend on the venue.  

International Fire and Safety Journal discussed the upcoming events with Tristan Norman, Group Event Director, David Brown, Event Director for the Emergency Services Show and David Bishop, Event Director for the Health and Safety Event to discuss what they have planned for the events. 

There is an element of excitement for the return of the three shows, which run between the 7th and 9th of September. As the dates get nearer, exhibitors and visitors will be keen to get back to the show floor. Group Event Director Tristan Norman explains how the organisers are feeling as anticipation builds: “It’s been a long wait.  We as a business, have been dying to get these series of shows on at the NEC for the best part of 18 months now. Our visitor registrations are through the roof, and we can’t wait to get back to our in-person events.” 

David Brown, Director of the Emergency Services Show adds: “We are really excited. It’s been two years and an awful lot has happened in that time. As an exhibition organiser we’ve had a couple of false storms of events having been postponed from September and April last year and earlier this year. Just the feeling of exhibitors and visitors getting back to a face to face and actually looking directly at products and equipment, it’s just in demand. 

Brown continues: “I think the hiatus from shows has shown us the importance of them. I just think networking is more and more important, and collaboration has really come out to the front as well.  There’s been some major incidents that have happened and there’s a lot of learning to do from one another. This year’s show will be the largest UK event dedicated to the protection of people, places and assets” 

Engaging with the markets 

Although shows have been on hold, it has been imperative that the industry has remained active. 

Norman reveals how the shows have kept engaged with exhibitors during the 18-month hiatus: “Across the board we’ve kept very close to the market during lockdown, and we’ve made sure we have lines of communication open at all times. We’ve run a series of webinars, but I wouldn’t say we’ve pivoted to digital. We’ve definitely increased our digital footprint and will continue to do so.” 

However, Brown is keen to highlight that they are engaging with visitors to explore what brings them to the show: “We’ve started up a new department to contact all the visitors who have registered for the show, and we’re asking them why they are coming to the show.

From what we have heard they just want to see the latest equipment and technology on the market, which will of course be a big part of the shows.  We’ve had phenomenal success with it. Visitors feel listened to and engaged with.” 

Keeping safety in mind 

Of course, as visitors and exhibitors return to the floor, many will want to see a plan in place for safety. Although the government haven’t given any guidelines for the shows, Norman explains how they will maximise safety: “We are in regular contact with the CEO of the NEC, who is working closely with the government to get events back. Working alongside them, we will ensure that the safety of our visitors and exhibitors is paramount at all times.” 

Key themes 

With the shows running in conjunction, the event covers all aspects of fire, health and safety. David Bishop, Event Director for the Health and Safety Event explains what the show has in hold for visitors: “The Health and Safety Event is the key national event for the industry and features some of the leading stakeholders in the marketplace. 

“The most obvious one would be the Health and Safety Executive, because they are the regulator for the industry and a lot of what they do shapes and forms what happens across the whole industry spectrum. However, what I would say is that one ticket will get you through to all the shows, they are co-located, and the halls are next door to one another. I believe we’ve all got content that appeals to a wide variety of visitors.

“You could be going to the Emergency Services Show, but there are things that we are featuring in health and safety that could be as relevant to them as it could be to facilities managers and fire safety officers.” 

For the Fire Safety Event, the attention is falling predominantly on fire protection and building safety. Norman states: “Grenfell is probably the over-riding theme of this year’s event. This is the first large scale fire safety event since the publication of the report and that will be dissected in lots of different ways across the event. 

“We will also be looking at the active and passive side of firefighting within tall buildings and the cladding regulations. This year’s show has more cladding exhibitors than we’ve ever had before who are looking to showcase their latest fire-resistant cladding.  That’s inevitably going to be one of the key things to look at.” 

From the perspective of the Emergency Services Show, the event will be looking at operational procedures post Grenfell. Among the exhibitors at the show are MSA and Draeger who have launched new breathing apparatus and fire ground communication equipment.

Brown explains how this ties in to the show: “We have exhibitors at the show this year that are launching equipment that could have solved the issues that fire fighters faced at Grenfell, which will be a key theme. It’s really exciting to know that equipment suppliers are providing solutions to the problems fire fighters have faced in the past. This year is unique as you’ve got the fire safety event, which is fire prevention, mixed with the Emergency Services Show which is full of firefighting kit so it’s a really good marriage from prevention to operational response equipment.” 

This year’s event promises to be the most versatile show to date. After nearly two years away, this year’s instalment is shaping up to be better than ever.  

For more information on the Emergency Services Show visit: 

For more information on the Fire Safety Event visit: 

For more information on the Health and Safety Event visit: 

This article was originally published in issue 6 of International Fire and Safety Journal

Receive the latest breaking news straight to your inbox