The Fire Safety Event: Bigger than ever before

The Fire Safety Event

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IFSJ caught up with Tristan Norman, Show Director for The Fire Safety Event, to find out about what’s in store for attendees

Why should people attend The Fire Safety Event?

Since the fire safety event launched in 2016 in the NEC in Birmingham it has really gathered momentum over years, and even with the pandemic it has always grown year-on-year. This year it has grown more than any other year in its history – the show will be double the size of what it was in 2022.

We have some phenomenal exhibitors, a brilliant array of speakers, more networking opportunities and meeting opportunities than ever before, plus more opportunities for CPD. Overall, the event as a proposition truly is the UK’s number one meeting of the fire industry. We have more exhibitors and visitors there than any other platform in the UK

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

One is the fallout from the Hackitt report. We’re five years on now and I think that some of the impacts are still being felt and worked through. Another is Brexit and what that has meant for product certification. In terms of new trends and innovation, we have a great section on cyber security and what that means withing the fire safety industry, how it impacts the likes of wireless detection.

Other things on our agenda are industry wide issues such as unconscious bias and levelling the playing field for anyone from any background, sex, nationality or belief to feel included in the fire industry, and to choose it as a viable career path. We’ve got some great sessions around diversity in the fire sector.

Nineteen as a business 60 per cent women. Diversity and inclusion is big on our own agenda as a business and we’re trying to help emanate that through our shows, and in light of recent reports that have come out from the London Fire Brigade, it has never been a bigger topic for the fire industry. It is one in particular that we would like to shine a positive light on and make sure that we’re doing everything we can as a vehicle and a platform for the industry to grow together and be more inclusive, and to make sure that we are utilising the incredible skillset of everyone that would like to be in the fire and safety industry.

All in all, we’re trying to create a platform for the fire industry to put them on the front foot and help people within the industry to lead the charge, whether that’s with technology and innovation or safety standards or diversity and inclusion. We are trying to be as forward thinking as we possibly can and ensure we are embracing all of the new impacts of trends and innovation as much as possible.

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

The session on day one that I’m really looking forward to is from Alison Phillips, the head of fire safety and risk management at Ocado. She’s coming in to talk about the lessons learned from the big Ocado warehouse fire in Andover – I think that’s going to be a fantastic session. On that same day, there’s going to be a session on unconscious bias within the industry. There will be representatives from manufacturers and industry professionals all talking around diversity and inclusion within the sector and how we can address that unconscious bias and grow as an industry.

Day two kicks off with an address from the Home Office, that is going to be a key session as it will address a lot of the issues that are still coming out of Grenfell and where we are five years down the line. We’ve then got a session in the afternoon of cyber threat to fire safety – as the world moves more digital, even in the fire and safety industry, the thread that seems to go through most industries is cyber security and cyber vulnerability and so its about making sure that our systems, particularly life safety systems are as robust as possible to ensure that there is no failure there.

Fire safety has some of the strictest certification in the world for a reason: if it fails the consequences are dire. If that is due to a hack or cyber threat then that’s something that we all need to be aware of. There are companies doing great things in that area for the fire sector.

The final day we’ve got Bob Docherty, the president if the Institute of Fire Safety Managers, talking around the Hackitt report five years on: what’s changed, what hasn’t, where there’s room for improvement.

We’ve got other interesting sessions around fire safety in residential buildings and on safe evacuation plans and the role of emergency lighting when it comes to tall buildings as well as larger commercial buildings and campuses. The conference wraps up with a session on protecting public premises so talking around what protecting public places and premises means in this day and age.

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

We’re delighted with the support we’ve received from the fire safety industry, from the manufacturers and service providers we’ve really been blown away by the support. We have a full sweep of the Halma Group companies which is the first time we have managed to get all of them together in one exhibiting space in many years, so that’s a big development for us.

We’ve got the likes of SSAIB, IOSH, and our supporting event partners such as IFSJ. It would be remiss for me not to talk around the work the ASFP do at our event – they put a lot into making the Fire Safety Event a success. This year they’ll be coming with their portable classroom for people to learn about passive fire and that will have a VR learning experience.

We are indebted to the Fire Protection Association (FPA) for the work they do both speaking at our event and post event, and BAFE who are key partners with us, and IFE doing IFSM. We’re really proud to work with all of our event partners and we thank them for getting involved in our event.

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

There will be networking opportunities for individual groups, a lot of the groups that come into the event like NAHFO, they’ll have a meeting at the show; Women in Fire will be having a meet up.

There’s a general rule which has become a tradition around the event which is that from 4pm onwards the event doesn’t necessarily ‘down tools’ but we start hosting our happy hours on all the networking lounges – live Music, free drinks – that will really put networking into full swing. Then there are a whole host of evening events that will happen across the city of Birmingham and the NEC campus for the whole industry – there’s too many to list, but it’s one not to be missed.

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

As event organisers, that transition from staring at a 2D floor plan and then seeing that built into a show always brings that sense of excitement. Seeing it built and the time and effort that our exhibitors make into those stands presences and seeing that come to life is amazing.

The thing I’m most looking forward to is that buzz. We’ve got more visitors and exhibitors registered than we ever have before, the whole event itself is nearly double in size and we’re just so excited to get to April and put on a fantastic event. Seeing it all come together is what I’m most excited about.

About the Fire Safety Event

The Fire Safety Event returns to the NEC Birmingham this month, playing host to leading manufacturers and suppliers to showcase their latest approved products and solutions. The show is dedicated to supporting industry practitioners, professionals and organisations in achieving and maintaining the very highest standards of fire safety management. Here’s what to expect from the event which kicks off on 25 April.

Over 150 exhibitors are participating at the 2023 show including many of the industry’s leading brands including such as: Advanced, Aico, Apollo, Checkmate Fire, Draeger, Eaton, Plus+ Group, Sentry Doors, and TOA. These brands and more will all be showcasing their latest research and development, product and solution launches and live demonstrations.

A number of key association and industry bodies are also supporting the Fire Safety Event and will be on hand to offer guidance and expert advice to visitors. Boasting three industry-led theatres and offering 45+ hours of free-to-attend CPD content, Education is at the heart of The Fire Safety Event. The show is the perfect opportunity for visitors to gain direct insight into improving, maintaining, and championing fire safety for all businesses.

The Fire Safety Theatre will also feature a line-up of leading industry experts and keynote speakers who will share their insight and expertise on best practice, regulatory updates and topical areas impacting the fire safety sector. Conference goers will be able to gain the practical knowledge and strategies to navigate new policy changes and stay fully compliant with fire safety standards.

New for 2023 is The Innovation & Regulation Theatre, which will showcase presentations on the important industry updates and guidance for practitioners and business owners. With a focus on standards, regulations and industry best practice, these sessions will educate businesses on how remain compliant and remain equipped to meet the needs of their clients.

The Fire Safety Event will also be introducing the specialised matchmaking service CONNECT+ Live to meet the business needs of fire safety professionals. 

Meet the IFSJ team at The Fire Safety Event!

International Fire & Safety Journal will be present at the show on Stand 3a/F57. Feel free to stop by the stand and catch up with IFSJ Editor Iain Hoey who will be on hand to talk attendees. To arrange a meeting with Iain at the show contact [email protected].

Iain Hoey says: “The Fire Safety is one of the most important events in a fire safety professionals calendar. I’m looking forward making new connections with show attendees and having the opportunity to catch up with old friends – I look forward to seeing you all there!”

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