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Fire Safety Matters Podcast - Episode 9

11 August 2020

THE NINTH edition of the Fire Safety Matters Podcast is now available to download or stream for free. On this latest episode we interview Roy Wilsher of the National Fire Chiefs Council and also hear once again from specialist fire safety lawyer Warren Spencer, managing director at Blackhurst Budd Solicitors. In addition, LAN Control Systems’ founder and head of sales Adam Welton focuses on current developments in relation to fire alarm management solutions.

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 from 27-29 April 2021.

In Episode 9, Brian interviews Roy Wilsher, chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC). The NFCC is the voice for the UK’s Fire and Rescue Service, providing advice and support on all professional and technical matters. As a collective (ie via the respective Chief Fire Officers of all UK Fire and Rescue Services), the NFCC manages national work programmes through its eight dedicated Co-ordination Committees. This structure ensures a joined-up approach to achieve defined programme aims, while at the same time driving improvements and development on the national stage.

Importantly, the NFCC also delivers a voice to Government, including for the devolved administrations. Indeed, the organisation is the single point of contact for the Home Office, fire professionals and key partners including the Local Government Association and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.

In essence, the basic aims of the NFCC are to strengthen the professional/operational leadership of the Fire and Rescue Service, improve national co-ordination, reduce duplication, increase efficiency, support local service delivery and enable an increased influence for Fire and Rescue Authorities/Fire and Rescue Services.

Consistency of approach

Roy Wilsher was appointed as the inaugural full-time chair of the NFCC in April 2017 with the remit to deliver a consistent approach, while establishing strong relationships with stakeholders and the wider sector (and most significantly with central Government). Roy actively represents the Fire and Rescue Services in a range of Government and sector forums and is called upon as the first line of advice to Government ministers during major incidents (such as the Grenfell Tower fire).

Roy began his career in the Fire Service back in 1981 in North London. In 1996, he attained a First Class BEng (Honours) degree in the subject of Fire Safety Engineering, going on to become senior divisional fire safety officer with direct responsibility for 11 Boroughs in North and West London just two years later.

Attaining the status of Chartered Engineer in 2000, Roy served as project lead for the restructure of the London Fire Brigade in 2001 and, 12 months later, assumed the role of Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety in London. Two years on, Roy joined the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service as Deputy Chief Fire Officer and was appointed Chief Fire Officer in 2005.

In April 2011, while continuing in the post of Chief Fire Officer, Roy took up an expanded role as director for community protection encompassing county-wide Trading Standards, emergency planning and looking after the County Community Safety Unit.

Building Regulations and Fire Safety

During Episode 9 of the Fire Safety Matters Podcast, Roy outlines what he believes to have been the key findings of Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, while also putting forward his views on the draft Building Safety Bill and the Fire Safety Bill. Does he believe those documents hit the right notes at present? Listen to Episode 9 and find out.

As we’ve reported on the Fire Safety Matters website, firefighters across the nation have boldly taken on so many extra tasks during the Coronavirus outbreak. Referencing that situation, Roy describes how he feels Fire and Rescue Services have fared during the pandemic and examines the lessons learned to date.

We also reported on the fact that there were 300-plus prosecutions for assaults on Emergency Services workers in the first month of lockdown alone. That being so, Roy discusses the Government’s current consultation that looks at the potential for doubling the maximum sentence for such assaults.

Legal issues

As always, Mark chats with leading fire safety lawyer Warren Spencer from Blackhurst Budd Solicitors who, in point of fact, has prosecuted more cases under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 than any other member of the legal profession.

On this edition of the Fire Safety Matters Podcast, and in direct response to questions posed on Twitter from readers of Fire Safety Matters using the hashtag #FSMPodcast, Warren turns his attentions towards the subject of Prohibition Notices.

A Prohibition Notice served under Article 31 is the most stringent measure that can be instigated by an enforcing authority while exercising its powers under the Fire Safety Order. Prohibition Notices can prohibit or otherwise restrict the use of a premises or a building to which they’re applied and replicate the powers that were contained within Section 10 of the Fire Precautions Act 1971.

Article 31 provides the enforcing authority with the power to act in cases where it’s deemed necessary to do so in order to prohibit or restrict the use of a given premises in order to ensure the safety of relevant persons. The nature of the risk must be such that it’s essential to act quickly and without any unnecessary delay. Can premises simply be shut down if a Prohibition Notice is not observed by building owners or managers? Listen to what Warren has to say on Episode 9 of the Fire Safety Matters Podcast.

Fire alarm management

In terms of the regular fire safety systems-focused element of the Fire Safety Matters Podcast, on this occasion Mark interviews Adam Welton, the founding director and head of sales at Nottingham-based LAN Control Systems.

Now a company within the Halma Group plc, LAN Control Systems was established back in 2008. As many of you will know, the business’ flagship solution is Nimbus, a cloud-based digital logbook allowing fire engineering specialists and facilities managers alike to effectively and efficiently manage and evidence system compliance. Nimbus delivers the ability for them to remotely monitor and control their fire alarm systems.

Adam has worked in the fire, security and BMS industries for over three decades now, along the way gaining solid experience of engineering, design, servicing, sales and product management.

Having just taken part in a hugely successful Fire Safety Matters webinar (focused on ensuring the compliance and efficiency of fire alarm systems) and written an excellent article on fire safety regimes for heritage premises in our August print edition (pp36-38), Adam makes good use of Episode 9 of the Fire Safety Matters Podcast to discuss the Nimbus solution for the benefit of end users and pinpoints several Case Studies where the system has been deployed.

In addition to all of that, the FSM editorial team once again analyses the latest major news emerging from the fire sector here in the UK.

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