The IFSJ Leaders in Fire & Safety Conference 2024: Everything you need to know

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The IFSJ Leaders in Fire & Safety Conference is back to set higher standards and promote excellence in professional practices

Welcome to International Fire and Safety Journal’s official preview of the IFSJ Leaders in Fire & Safety Conference, held in association with Reacton Fire Suppression.

On Thursday 9 May 2024, the IFSJ Leaders in Fire & Safety Conference will return, bringing together over 120 of the most influential figures in the Middle East and Africa fire and safety industry to deliver a high class business forum focusing on business strategy, the latest trends, regulations and innovations from the region.

Held in collaboration with prominent associations, regional authorities, top manufacturers, and innovative solution providers, this highly anticipated conference will take place at The Grosvenor Hotel, Dubai Marina and will offer a one-of-a-kind opportunity for the most outstanding fire and safety companies and personnel in the region to connect and gain knowledge from influential speakers in attendance.

By utilising interactive panel discussions and face-to-face networking opportunities at this invite only event, delegates will be able to engage in high-level conversations which will explore key areas for business growth in the region. The conference will explore key topics influencing the region from a fire and safety perspective whilst putting the biggest challenges facing organisations in the region under the microscope.

Duncan J. White, IFSJ Managing Editor, who will also serve as a panel moderator, says the event will bring together regional fire and safety leadership professionals from all facets of the industry, who all have a single goal, namely: “To promote and enhance professional fire and safety practices and develop understanding of an ever-evolving industry.”

“The inaugural IFSJ Leaders in Fire and Safety Conference was a massive success and this year we’re thrilled to return, promoting higher standards of fire and safety in the region,” says White. “The UAE is a rapidly evolving region, with fascinating new approaches and advancements in fire and safety. This event will offer an insight into a few of these, by leading regional fire and safety subject matter experts.”

The Leaders Conference…

Attendees of the IFSJ Leaders in Fire & Safety Conference will hear insights from a wealth of industry experts working in and around the Middle East and Africa region.

After an introduction from Terry Johnson, Conference Chair, delegates will be welcomed Dubai Civil Defense, who will be presenting the Keynote Address and outlining the strategies for fire and safety in Dubai for 2024 and beyond.

Panel discussions will focus on a variety of topics such as the impact of sustainability on fire safety in construction, artificial intelligence in fire readiness, technology and innovation, health and wellbeing, issues arising from lithium-ion batteries, PFAS in firefighting, carcinogen exposure, crisis management, and strategic leadership in the fire sector.

The conference is proud to partner with Dubai Civil Defense and The Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE). From a technology perspective, this year’s event is supported by an elite range of solution providers and manufacturers including Reacton Fire Suppression, Ateis Middle East, VELOX, MSA Safety, Performance Advantage Company, Britannia Fire, FireDos, IP Video and RelyOn Nutec.

Reacton Fire Suppression, this year’s Platinum Partner, will be making the platinum presentation. Sam Malins, CEO of Reacton, said: “At Reacton, we are dedicated to not only leading in the field of fire suppression technology but also in setting the pace for industry standards globally. Our participation as the Platinum Partner at the IFSJ Leaders in Fire & Safety Conference allows us to showcase our commitment to these goals and to engage with other leaders who are equally dedicated to advancing fire safety technology and strategy”​​

A word from the Conference Chair

The Conference will be chaired once again by Terry Johnson, Director of Emergency Services – Jasara NEOM The Line, and UAE GCC Branch President of The Institution of Fire Engineers.

“I am eagerly looking forward to returning as the Chair for the IFSJ Leaders in Fire & Safety Conference,” says Johnson. “Building on the success of our previous conferences, this event represents a pivotal opportunity to unite prominent leaders from across the region to discuss the evolving challenges in fire safety and to foster enhanced collaboration for the future.”

Why Dubai

Dubai has risen as a leader in the fire and safety sector, underpinned by a combination of factors that highlight the city’s commitment to safety. The local government’s rigorous enforcement of fire safety regulations ensures that infrastructure across the city adheres to the strictest safety protocols, fostering a pervasive safety culture among its residents and businesses.

Significant investments in technology and innovation have propelled Dubai’s capabilities in fire safety. The deployment of advanced fire detection systems, the use of firefighting drones, and the integration of smart firefighting gear have all enhanced the efficiency and effectiveness of the city’s emergency responses, establishing Dubai as a secure environment for both living and business operations.

The Dubai Civil Defense Academy stands at the forefront of this sector by offering top-tier training and education to fire safety professionals. Their comprehensive programs in fire prevention, emergency management, and risk mitigation equip Dubai’s firefighters with the skills needed to effectively tackle various fire-related emergencies.

Moreover, Dubai’s active collaborations with international bodies and nations in the fire safety realm enable it to remain at the cutting edge of technological and strategic fire safety developments. This not only safeguards its inhabitants and visitors but also positions Dubai as a global leader in fire safety, setting standards for others to follow.

About Dubai Civil Defense

Dubai Civil Defense (DCD) was founded in 1976 and is responsible for protecting the lives, properties, and environment of Dubai. DCD has a wide range of responsibilities, including: firefighting and rescue, emergency medical services, hazardous materials response, public education and awareness, disaster preparedness and response, urban search and rescue, marine rescue, aviation rescue, environmental protection, occupational safety and health, and security and law enforcement. DCD is also a leader in the field of emergency management and has a strong track record of success in responding to a wide range of emergencies. DCD is a valuable asset to Dubai and plays a vital role in keeping the city safe.

About The Institution of Fire Engineers

The Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) is a global professional membership body for those in the fire sector that seek to increase their knowledge, professional recognition and understanding of fire through a global discourse. It is leading the way in enabling fire professions to become rigorously assessed through a well-established and dynamic system of internationally recognised membership grades and fire-related qualifications. Managed for fire professionals by fire professionals, the IFE aims to promote, encourage and improve the science, practice and professionalism of fire engineering, acting as a beacon of established expertise and guiding the way to a fire safe future.

Welcome and Start Times

The IFSJ Leaders in Fire & Safety Conference opens at 8.15am for registration, before a welcoming address by Ian Stokes, CEO of Centurian Media, and Terry Johnson, the conference chair at 9.00am. This will be followed by a keynote address from our intellectual partners, Dubai Civil Defense, setting the tone for a day focused on innovation and collaboration in fire and safety.


The presentations at the conference are meticulously designed to cover a broad spectrum of critical topics relevant to fire safety. Kicking off the presentations, Sawsan Dahham, CEO – Siena will take the stage to share valuable lessons learned from fire incidents, both locally and internationally, emphasising actionable strategies for enhancing fire safety measures. This will be followed by the Platinum Presentation from Edward Barnes, CTO – Reacton Fire Suppression, on vehicle fire safety in the UAE, spotlighting specific challenges and solutions in a regional context.

Throughout the day, other notable presentations will address pressing issues such as the communication pitfalls in crisis situations, the pervasive risks associated with PFAS chemicals, and the implications of rapid technological advances on fire safety, particularly concerning electric vehicles. Each presentation aims to equip attendees with practical knowledge and solutions to implement in their respective fields.

Panel Discussions

Panel discussions are a core part of the conference’s interactive elements, fostering dialogue and exchange of ideas among experts. The first panel discussion, moderated by Robert Rea, Director and Lead facilitator – BR Training Solutions Ltd, will delve into fire safety management during the occupation phase of buildings, where panellists will discuss maintaining safety standards post-construction. Another significant panel led by Alexander Castellanos, Head of Fire and Life Safety – AtkinsRealis, will tackle the advancements in fire protection technology and the industry’s capacity to keep pace with these innovations.

Later, a critical discussion on mental health, moderated by IFSJ Managing Editor Duncan J. White, will examine the underlying issues of mental health and suicide in the fire service industry, aiming to raise awareness and explore comprehensive solutions. The final panel of the day, focusing on equality in engineering recruitment, will challenge the existing norms around diversity quotas and advocate for merit-based recruitment practices.


There will be plenty of opportunities to network throughout the day as the conference is structured to maximise participant interaction and foster professional connections. The agenda includes several dedicated periods for networking: a morning coffee break, a lunch interval, and an afternoon tea session. These breaks are strategically placed to allow attendees to discuss the insights gained from the sessions and to engage with speakers and panellists on a more personal level.

The networking events are set in relaxed environments conducive to open conversations and potential collaborations. The conference concludes with an extended networking session post-closing remarks, providing another opportunity for attendees to connect with industry leaders and peers, ensuring they leave the conference with valuable contacts and enhanced understanding of the industry’s future directions.

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

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