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Fire Safety Matters Podcast - Episode 8

28 July 2020

THE EIGHTH edition of the Fire Safety Matters Podcast is now available to download or stream for free. On this latest episode we interview Graham Ferris of the Independent Fire Engineering and Distributors Association and also hear once again from specialist fire safety lawyer Warren Spencer, managing director at Blackburst Budd Solicitors. In addition, EMS’ marketing manager Ray Puttock focuses his attentions on the ongoing development of wireless fire detection systems.

The Fire Safety Matters (FSM) Podcast is hosted by the magazine’s Editor Brian Sims and Western Business Media’s CEO Mark Sennett and is available fortnightly on Wednesdays. The FSM Podcast is sponsored by The Fire Safety Event, which takes place at the NEC in Birmingham on 27-28 April 2021.

Representative body

In Episode 8, Brian interviews Graham Ferris, general manager at the Independent Fire Engineering and Distributors Association (IFEDA). The organisation was established back in 1989 to provide an independent representative body of fire trade companies.

Membership of the Trade Association is based on the democratic principle of one member one vote, with all members – irrespective of company size or turnover – treated on an equal footing and paying the same annual subscription. The basic objectives of IFEDA are to actively support its members and always promote quality industry standards and procedures within the fire safety industry as a whole.

There are several ways in which IFEDA achieves these goals. The Trade Association ensures members both attain and then maintain a quality system in accordance with BS EN ISO 9001:2015 in line with the requirements of the appropriate BAFE scheme. It ensures that members operate the appropriate BAFE scheme(s) requiring the licensing of all service personnel (eg SP101 for fire extinguisher servicing and SP203 for fire alarms, etc).

Importantly, IFEDA provides communication on key legislative changes and other industry-related news. The organisation holds a bank of data, technical memos and other relevant information and produces regular newsletters in order to keep its members informed of developments across the industry.

Training courses

A key role for IFEDA is to provide training courses designed to keep members (and non-members) up-to-date with certificated qualifications, including BAFE-recognised training courses, of which fire extinguisher training is of paramount importance.

IFEDA is instrumental in promoting the benefits of quality and professional industry standards to insurance companies, fire authorities, Government departments and fire trade companies alike. As a Trade Association, IFEDA continues to champion third party accreditation for fire risk assessments and their importance following on from the introduction of the much-discussed Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

For his part, Graham Ferris is a former technician and technical instructor for communications equipment, having worked with various Government departments here in the UK and overseas. He joined IFEDA in 2008. One of his tasks involves producing and running fire training courses on topics including fire extinguishers, dry risers, fire hose reels and ‘Train The Trainer’.

During the FSM Podcast, and for the benefit of the readers of Fire Safety Matters, Graham explains precisely what IFEDA is all about as an organisation. Further, the subject of competency in relation to fire safety work has cropped up on a regular basis during previous episodes of the fortnightly FSM Podcast, and Graham grabs the opportunity to put forward his views on the matter.

There’s some explanation of how IFEDA and BAFE work in tandem and, with Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety very much in mind, Graham also outlines what he believes to be the key challenges for the fire sector in the years ahead.

One topic that’s always worth bringing to the fore is the vital importance of regular fire extinguisher maintenance. This is a subject that completely resonates with Graham and he duly works through the key points to bear in mind.

Legal issues

As ever, Mark chats with leading fire safety lawyer Warren Spencer. On this edition of the FSM Podcast, Warren focuses his attentions on the ‘Responsible Person’. Increasingly, more and more fire safety professionals are being considered for prosecution under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Generally, fire safety professionals are not considered as the ‘Responsible Person’ as defined under Article 3 of the Fire Safety Order. Warren addresses this often confusing issue. It quickly emerges that clearly defined roles and obligations are of paramount importance.

Systems in the spotlight

Focusing on the systems side of the industry, Mark also speaks with Ray Puttock, marketing manager at EMS (the Kent-based developer and manufacturer of both wireless and hybrid fire detection products). The company celebrated its 50th Anniversary back in 2017.

For his part, Ray has gained great experience of the fire industry across the years having held roles at ADT Fire and Security and Secom plc. In fact, Ray boasts over 25 years’ experience and knowledge of the sector.

An active member of several Fire Industry Association Working Groups, Ray has in-depth knowledge of fire safety legislation as well as a solid technical understanding of fire detection systems and technical standards. He’s frequently called upon to engineer the best solutions that will avoid potential problems and pitfalls for end users, encompassing everything from risk assessments and understanding the law through to implementing fire management programmes and processes.

During the FSM Podcast, Ray discusses the latest product releases from EMS and also outlines the benefits of wireless fire detection systems. There’s a focus on heritage premises (a subject covered in great depth in the August print edition of Fire Safety Matters, in fact) as well as other examples of where wireless systems can be deployed. Systems integration is addressed in detail.

On top of all that, the FSM editorial team once again analyses the latest major news emerging from the fire sector.

Listen to the FSM Podcast

You can listen to the FSM Podcast for free on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. To download the FSM Podcast on iTunes or Spotify, all you need to do is enter the term ‘Fire Safety Matters’ into the search box of your chosen platform.

Alternatively, you can listen to the FSM Podcast online at fsmpodcast.podbean.com or via our YouTube channel by clicking HERE.

*If there are any specific subjects you would like to see featured in an upcoming Fire Safety Matters Podcast please do contact us. You can do so on Twitter by using the hashtag #FSMPodcast. Alternatively, send an e-mail direct to bsims@westernbusiness.media