December 2020

Dear Fire Risk Management Group Members,

2020 has continued to be a challenging year for us all but it is in times like this that we need to ensure that we continue to keep things as near as possible to normal or the so-called “new normal”. I am very pleased to be able to advise the IOSH FRMG membership that your committee have continued to work together, albeit mainly virtually, to ensure that as soon as we can get back to the new way of working, whatever that means, we will be able to do so.

In my last members update I told you that we had prepared a new strategy document for 2020 and I am pleased to say that this has since been ratified and is being implemented by the committee. The strategy has been built around the three Pillars of Enhance, Collaborate and Influence all of which underpin the IOSH Work 2020 initiative. Whilst I obviously cannot detail all of the work that is on-going I can give you a flavour of it and some of the success that has been achieved so far.

Taking the first pillar of “Enhance”, the committee recognises that it is important that we are able to support our members by enhancing their knowledge and understanding of the changing world of fire, fire safety and fire risk. We have all seen that as a result of too many global fire related incidents that things need to change morally, culturally and legally. Our 2020/21 strategy sets out to give our members, their employers and associated bodies the chance to work together to understand, influence and make these changes. Two way communication is key to achieving this objective and the FRMG communication sub-team have worked hard to give you the social media based tools to allow, us to interact with you all. In March we set up the IOSH Fire Risk Management Group on LinkedIn as a way of expanding our communication and this has proved to be a huge success. I have recently been advised that our group has gone from zero in March to over 6600 followers – I think that you, like me, will recognise that this is an important step forward. If you have not yet started to follow the group on LinkedIn (or Twitter), can I encourage you to do so and join the debate – in particular watch out for the “questions of the week” – these are designed to encourage as many followers as possible to discuss and debate current key topics around fire; please do get involved, you can do this by responding to questions, raising questions and through sharing experiences. Additionally we have used LinkedIn to run a short survey in order for us to gain a better understanding of what you, our members and followers, would like us to provide in order to enhance your experiences with the group. Please remember that you can always send us messages, either by email or social media if you have any questions or ideas.

 Our second strategic pillar is “Collaboration” and here our objective is to start to build and enhance links between our group and other similarly focussed groups. You will understand that the IOSH Fire Risk Management Group is subject focussed and hence this is a common link between us and the many other IOSH sector groups and branches. We need to ensure that we move forward together to provide common messages and reduce the risk of repeat or double effort. To that end we are working on building or enhancing our links with these groups with a view to providing knowledge, support and joint events. Progress is already being made with this part of our strategy and we will ensure that all of our members are advised and can get involved as early as possible.

Collaboration is also being improved between us and other external bodies. You may be aware that IOSH already plays an active role in the Fire Sector Federation (FSF) through our IOSH sponsored representative. The FSF is a UK based forum where representatives from a large number of fire related organisations regularly meet to discuss issues of common interest with a view to exerting influence upon future UK policy and strategy. Additionally, we are also working with other international bodies to ensure that our coverage is truly global and not just UK centric. Watch out for some exciting announcements via our LinkedIn and Twitter accounts over the coming weeks and months.

The third pillar is “Influence” and here we are basing our activities around research and learning from and with others. Many of you will be aware that last year we asked you to help us with a research project around complacency and response to fire alarms. As with all research projects of this type it takes a while to analyse the data received and determine the learning. I am pleased to say that the sub-group including specialist academics who are working on this are have made real progress and are currently finalising their conclusions. As the work is being carried out on a voluntary basis and with the restrictions imposed on us by the pandemic this may have taken a little longer than we originally planned but the good news is that the team are now pulling the report together and that a number of major international fire related journals have declared an interest in publishing the groups findings. Again watch out for further updates as this truly international project comes to its conclusion.

Hopefully, this gives you an idea of what the group has been working on in 2020– a lot of which has been being carried out in the background. This will, I am sure, result in the IOSH FRMG being ready to meet the challenges of the future and ready to meet you, our members, when the time is right.

Finally, as this is my last news update for 2020, may I thank you all for your support and wish you and your families the compliments of the season. I am sure that you, like me, will all be looking forward with some excitement to 2021 and the re-introduction of normality. Until then I hope that you all remain safe and healthy.

Best regards
Neil Vincer CMIOSH
Chair – Fire Risk Management Group
December 2020.