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Igniting Innovation: What’s in store at The Fire Safety Event 2024?

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Tristan Norman, Director of The Fire Safety Event, tells IFSJ how the show will promote best practice, showcase innovation, and foster industry collaboration

What are the key themes and objectives for The Fire Safety Event 2024?

The key themes for The Fire Safety Event 2024 predominantly focus on promoting best practices, sharing knowledge, showcasing the latest innovations and technologies, updating the industry on regulatory compliance, and fostering industry collaboration.

The event has evolved into a pivotal meeting place not only for the UK’s fire industry but has also extended its reach across Europe, positioning it as one of the premier shows for fire safety leaders to convene, network, and engage with their industry peers.

What is on the agenda for the fire industry at The Fire Safety this year?

At the forefront of this year’s Fire Safety Event is its distinction as the largest the UK has hosted in over a decade, marked by an unprecedented number of exhibitors.

This year’s exhibition features the most exhibitors in recent UK history, making it a significant showcase for the fire safety sector.

The agenda includes the new Fire Safety Leaders Summit and the return of the highly acclaimed Passive Fire Conference, in partnership with the Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP).

New initiatives this year are the Compliance Innovation Theatre, developed in collaboration with the British Standards Institution (BSI), and the Live Fire and Security Testing Zone, featuring practical fire testing demonstrations onsite, in association with Warringtonfire and Element.

A core aspect of our agenda continues to be the promotion of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) principles.

The event will feature numerous panels and discussions focused on diversity, with a particular emphasis on supporting women in the fire industry—a commitment we have upheld from the beginning and maintain as a priority in all our events.

What key speakers and sessions should attendees from the fire industry look out for?

Every session at the event is crucial, but some of the standout highlights for me include the Home Office’s address on the first day, providing the latest insights into the fire sector from their perspective.

A significant focus within our Leaders Conference is on tall buildings, featuring multiple sessions on this topic.

Notably, Russell Timpson from the Tall Buildings Network and Dave White from the Institution of Fire Safety Managers (IFSM) will present critical strategies for managing tall buildings and high rises, which is especially timely given the ongoing impact of the Grenfell Tower fire and the substantial remedial work still required in the industry.

Another session that stands out is a session analysing of the Crooked House pub fire in Birmingham by the Fire Protection Association.

This session, focusing on arson prevention and protection for businesses, is particularly relevant given the event’s Birmingham location.

It promises to offer valuable insights into safeguarding premises and property against arson, a topic we haven’t explored in depth previously.

Can you tell me about the range of exhibitors from the fire industry at the show this year?

The significant interest in exhibiting at the Fire Safety Event is evident from the impressive number of Premiere partners we’ve attracted this year.

We anticipate a sold-out event two months in advance, with no possibility of expanding the exhibition space.

This reflects the current vibrancy of the industry and the value these brands place on our event as a platform for engaging with new customers.

Our Premier Partners are: FFE, Vox Ignis, Tyco, Teletek, Profab Access, Strongdor, Iriss, Inim, Helio, DorSuite, Dorplan, Plus+ Group, DC Fire Protection, C-TEC, Baldwin Boxall, Sentry Doors, Cygnus, TOA, EMS, LFS, Apollo, Hyfire, Checkmate Fire and Global Fire Equipment.

Halma companies are also taking substantial presences at our show.

With nearly 175 participants, we’re hosting the largest collection of fire safety exhibitors the UK has seen in over a decade.

This event is a must-attend for anyone in the fire safety industry, offering a unique opportunity to witness the extensive range and scale of exhibitors available, right here in Birmingham.

It’s truly a one-of-a-kind showcase.

What networking opportunities will be available at this year’s event?

We dedicate considerable time and effort to organise our networking bars, which have become legendary for their vibrant afternoon sessions.

These sessions typically begin at lunchtime and extend beyond the show’s closing, featuring complimentary drinks and ample opportunities for networking at the bar.

Additionally, the afternoons will be filled with a mix of live music and bands, as usual.

Moreover, many of our theatre sessions are designed to facilitate networking, allowing the audience to engage, ask questions, and benefit from peer-to-peer learning experiences.

This integrated approach ensures that attendees can connect and learn in a dynamic, interactive environment.

What are you most excited for as the event draws closer?

I have a habit of the morning before the show opens where I get to the venue around 5am and take a moment to walk through the show as every stand is set up as the anticipation builds within the now completed hall.

It gives me a sense of the event’s scale and the excitement of what The Fire and Safety Event will bring.

It’s a moment of reflection on the sheer size and impact of the event that I always  look forward to.

From a broader perspective, as an event organiser, it’s important to acknowledge that we are not the stars of the show—our exhibitors and speakers are.

We’re the ones behind the scenes, building the stage and setting the scene for the main attractions.

There’s a unique satisfaction in seeing a busy show floor, with exhibitors and visitors who have invested time, effort, and resources into their stands and sponsorships, all coming together to create a dynamic and engaging environment.

What truly matters to me is witnessing the joy and engagement of those who attend; seeing busy halls filled with smiles and laughter, and knowing that everyone present is not only conducting serious business but also genuinely enjoying the experience.

Trade shows don’t have to be mundane; they should be fun and memorable.

Hearing the buzz of conversations and knowing that people are having a great time makes all the hard work worthwhile.

What are your thoughts on the future trends and advancements in fire safety post this event?

The fire safety industry is currently at a pivotal juncture, particularly with the increasing integration of Wi-Fi devices.

This development, combined with broader technological advancements such as the rise of AI and machine learning, enhanced IoT capabilities, and advancements in sensor technology, promises significant impacts on the fire safety sector in the upcoming years.

Our goal for The Fire Safety Event is to remain the premier platform for exhibitors to showcase these innovations.

Sustainability is another critical trend, especially regarding fire-rated construction products.

We anticipate a growing emphasis on sustainability, including eco-friendly fire suppression methods and the continuous enhancement of fire-resistant materials and construction techniques.

These advancements are evolving in tandem with both the fire safety and construction industries.

Looking towards the concept of a truly intelligent building, the integration of fire and security systems, along with HVAC systems, represents the foundational elements of smart buildings.

These systems are expected to become increasingly sophisticated, offering improved functionality and operating in more advanced ways than current standards.

The potential for growth in this sector, from a technological standpoint, is immense, promising exciting advancements in the near future.

We are now in an era of global information sharing, where best practices and technological advancements in fire safety are rapidly exchanged across continents—from Indonesia and the APAC region to America, and vice versa.

The UK has long been a leader in fire safety regulation and compliance, and the valuable work being done within our industry is poised to influence global standards as well.

Looking ahead, the next 10 to 15 years will likely witness a global upskilling and the establishment of a worldwide benchmark for fire safety standards, which will continuously improve.

Ultimately, the goal of the fire safety industry is to prevent fires.

As we advance and succeed in this mission, the outcomes will be increasingly positive for everyone involved.

The global aspect of the industry is crucial, and as a truly international show, we aim to provide a platform for professionals from around the world to share knowledge, learn, collaborate, and discover the latest innovations in fire safety.

I want to extend a thanks to our sponsors, partner associations, exhibitors, and media partners for the support and contributions that make the Fire Safety Event possible.

It is through their involvement that we can host the UK’s largest fire safety event, helping to reaffirm the UK’s position as a leader in the global fire safety arena.

We are grateful for every participant’s contribution and look forward to continuing our collaboration, aiming to keep the UK at the forefront of the world’s leading fire shows.

The Fire Safety Event will take place on 30 April – 2 May 2024 at the NEC, Birmingham, UK. For information on how to attend visit: www.firesafetyevent.com

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

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