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24 March 2020

Fire Safety Matters sat down with The Fire Safety Event director, Tristan Norman, to gain an insight into why it is essential to attend the event at NEC Birmingham on 22-23 September 2020

The Fire Safety Event is now in its fourth year. What's different about this year's instalment? 

The Fire Safety Event is now the fastest growing event in the fire sector in the UK. The event will be double the floor space compared to last year and there'll be over 100 exhibitors on hand. When we look at how registration is tracking already, at this point there are already double the amount of registrations compared to 2019. That's particularly impressive considering last year the event received double the amount of delegates than the previous year received. So it's not only the UK's fastest growing fire safety event in terms of visitors attending, but also companies exhibiting at the event. 

What sets The Fire Safety Event apart from other events that cover the sector? 

It's the most interactive and content-filled event in the fire sector. All of the content is CPD accredited, so everyone in a session will receive CPD hours. The content is what would normally be reserved for a paid-to-attend conference – it’s high level and delivered by industry experts on topics that are really key. Delegates can take away real, genuine learnings from the events from best practice to updates to standards and laws. 

The event is also far more interactive than any other event. Advanced will be doing live demonstrations of how to eliminate unwanted fire alarms and showing the importance of reliable fire detection assistance. With the Fire and Rescue Service now charging for attending unwanted alarms in commercial premises, it's vital that fire detection systems, as well as fire alarm systems, give reliable detection. So when that alarm goes off, you know, unless it's a test, it's time to evacuate. 

Kingspan are doing a live fire performance demonstration again, and they will be doing fire testing on site of their composite panels and showing how under extreme heat these panels won't burn. It will show just how important it is to have reliable and trustworthy building materials and ensure building integrity in the event of a fire. 

Can you tell us how far the exhibition has grown and how it looks in comparison to previous years? 

As previously mentioned, the number of exhibitors will make it the biggest Fire Safety Event yet. And it boasts a plethora of the leading names in the industry, including Advanced, Apollo Fire Detectors, Tyco, Honeywell, C-TEC, Kingspan, Rockwool, Global Fire, EMS, Coopers Fire, Jactone and many more. 

What really sets this event apart is how diverse the exhibitor base is. It covers everything from active fire protection and passive fire protection to the suppression market. So you can see everything from sprinkler systems through to fire detection systems, and fire doors to intumescent seals and fire curtains. It's a complete one-stop-shop for all fire protection products. We've also got a number of training companies on site that can help delegates ensure they've got competency in training and in working with fire safety products and fire safety strategies. A good example of that is XACT. 

Can you tell us which associations will be at the event and how they can help visitors? 

We have a tremendous backing from industry associations, and this is really important because they're there to help with the professional development of delegates. They can offer a range of services such as training or advice – not just from a career progression point of view, but actually helping give tips on life safety and property protection. 

The associations supporting the event and on site include the Fire Protection Association, the Institution of Fire Engineers, the Fire and Security Association, the Institute of Fire Safety Managers and the Association for Specialist Fire Protection. We've also got the Independent Fire Engineering & Distributors' Association, the Electrical Distributors' Association and the National Association of Healthcare Fire Officers. The event will also feature third party certification bodies such as BAFE and SSAIB. So, from an attendees standpoint, you can learn how to ensure either yourself or your contractors are competent in carrying out fire safety work. And third party certification is something that's really come to the forefront post-Grenfell and post the building regulations review. 

What is the key content on offer? 

New for this year is the Fire and Security Installer Theatre. Dedicated to the needs of security installers and integrators, the Installer Theatre will provide important industry updates and guidance for practitioners and business owners. With a focus on standards, regulations and industry best practice, these sessions will be vital to ensure businesses remain compliant and are best equipped to meet the needs of their clients. 

The Fire Safety Theatre will return this year, sponsored by Advanced, and we're delighted to continue our partnership with Fire Safety Matters – the leading magazine in the sector – which is organising the content for this theatre. Nobody is better placed to put on a content line-up like this and the sessions are really topical. There'll be a government update on building regulations and we'll have an insight into submissions to the building regulations review from the Fire Sector Federation and the Fire Protection Association. There will also be insight into submissions into the current review for the Fire Safety Order. 

One of the most interactive parts of the content line-up is a fire safety mock trial delivered by Pinsent Masons LLP. Delegates can watch and take part in a trial under the Fire Safety Order that's based on a real life prosecution. Delegates become the jury and have the opportunity to decide whether the person being prosecuted is guilty or not guilty. Once they have voted on a decision, Pinsent Masons will reveal what happened in the real life trial. It shows delegates all the things they need to be careful of and learn from so they don't fall foul of fire safety regulations and laws and end up in the dock. It's a great way of sharing worst practice in a real life situation and often the vote in these trials is equally split between guilty and not guilty. This session is therefore a great way for delegates to take away key learnings that won’t just protect their employees, but will protect themselves from potential criminal prosecution. 

Another theatre at the event is the Tall Buildings Theatre, which is being curated by the Association for Specialist Fire Protection and sponsored by Evaclite. Here, we'll talk about key lessons learned from Grenfell, as well as passive fire protection, fire doors, competency of work on fire safety products in tall buildings, and evacuation strategies. It's a one stop shop for how to protect people and property in tall buildings. 

The other area is the DSEAR with a Bang Demo Area put on by asecos. This started last year in the NEC and proved tremendously popular so we’ve brought it back for a second year. This area will feature live experiments based on the requirements of the Dangerous Substance and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002. Visitors will see how ignition sources react with compressed gases, highly flammable liquids, explosion limits and much more.These presentations are part of a safety initiative run by asecos, promoting the best solutions for storing hazardous materials at your place of work. 

Why should someone who hasn't attended The Fire Safety Event before visit this year? 

If you're looking for a reason to attend the event, it's not just for career development. It's not just for gaining key insights into updated legislation, regulation and learning best practice. It's also a chance to meet and network with like-minded professionals who face the same issues that you have in their workplace with the same goal of protecting property and people. And, ultimately, all of the leading brands in the fire safety sector are there exhibiting under one roof. 

This is the UK's national show for fire safety but it's also uniquely co-located with The Facilities Event, The Health and Safety Event, The Security Event and the Emergency Services Show. One free pass will give you access to all five events, which attract a diverse range of attendees, from installers and end users to specifiers, consultants and insurers. We are also delighted to announce our partnership and support with RISCAuthority, which means we will have insurers on hand as delegates come round the show. 

The Safety and Health Excellence Awards, which includes fire safety categories, also takes place on the first night of The Fire Safety Event (22nd September). It is the must-attend networking event in the fire safety calendar, and it celebrates excellence and innovation across the board. So The Fire Safety Event is really an event that’s not to be missed and we look forward to welcoming you to the NEC Birmingham on 22 to 23 September.

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