A blog from FSF Chairman, Michael Harper.
At the Fire Sector Federation, our mission is to give voice and exert influence in shaping future policy and strategy in the UK Fire Sector. At its simplest, that means bringing fire safety to the fore of thinking across society.
The heightened awareness of fire safety since the terrible tragedy and failings of Grenfell paradoxically creates a new opportunity to repurpose fire safety culture, particularly in construction, procurement and manufacturing.
The Federation has been at the forefront of the drive for competence in mitigating fire risk across the built environment, giving a strong voice to the remedial activities post Grenfell required to create safer buildings.
But there is also a very real need to keep up with the pace of change by taking a more forward-thinking approach. We must seek to understand the risks from new and evolving techniques, such as modern methods of construction. The Federation is working in partnership with the National Fire Chiefs’ Council (NFCC) to bring the sector together to prepare and adapt for future risks.
The evidence that we are hearing from the Grenfell Inquiry points to an environment where too many still see fire safety as a burdensome set of rules, rather than embedding it into organisational culture. They must embrace the need to protect the eventual occupants of our buildings in the best way possible, rather than looking for loopholes in the regulations.
Those involved in ‘value engineering’ construction projects might do well to remember that they are building homes and offices where people would expect to live their lives safely.
The Fire Sector Federation plays a significant role in contributing to the legislative process and promoting fire safety as a major priority. We continue to lobby for third party certification and have placed it at the heart of our recently published approved Code of Practice for Fire Risk Assessors.
We have a wealth of talent and expertise across the membership that speaks with great authority on a wide range of fire safety issues, from active and passive protection to product assurance, construction materials and methods and personal protective equipment.
Education is a key driver to achieving a fire safety conscious society and the Federation plays a crucial part in giving voice to the important issues and remedial action needed.
Although a non-profit organisation with finite resources, we continue to achieve a high level of understanding and influence. Our members benefit from the opportunity to have a voice in framing the future of a safer environment while at the same time being kept aware of important changes and guidance.
It is vital that we continue our momentum by encouraging more members who will enhance our range of skills and boost resources. I would encourage all those who want to have a voice in the sector to join the Federation and support our work to create a safer society.