May 2020

Dear Fire Risk Management Group Members,

I do not need to tell you that since I wrote my last update to you in February the world has changed dramatically and with it the plans that I outlined to you in that communication has basically gone out of the window. It is both disappointing and frustrating when, after your new committee had started in such a positive manner, that we had to change everything that we had in place. Our 2020 schedule of face to face committee meetings were suspended and the work that we had put into planning events was mothballed. It was particularly disappointing when we had to withdraw from other sector group and branch events – all of which were in the advanced planning stages.

Having looked at the negative aspects of the current situation I now turn to the positives, and I am pleased to say that there are many. I will start with the group membership, as I am very pleased to be able to announce that we have now topped over 10,000 members. When I joined the committee three years ago the membership was approximately 3500 and to record what is a threefold increase is something we would not have envisaged in those days. Of course, with the increase in numbers comes a greater responsibility for the committee to ensure that you, our members, are given the service that you expect. In order to achieve this requires us to improve our communications with you all, wherever you are in the world and to that end we now have a sub-group within the committee who have started to find new ways for us to communicate with you and for you to communicate with us.

Communication systems have proven to be crucial for us all, and I am sure many of you have discovered the wonders of Zoom, Skype, Webex and the other video conferencing software to such an extent that they have now become part of your daily lives. In our case, Zoom has enabled our cancelled face to face committee meetings to become virtual and this has allowed us to continue working together on many of the projects that we had previously started. You will be aware from my last update that the committee had met in January to start the planning for our group strategy and it is good to report that we have now reached the stage where the document has been drafted, discussed and progressed to the point where it will go before our June committee meeting for finalising. I will expand on the contents in my next update to you but I can say that the strategy has been designed to ensure that we get all of our members involved as much as possible, whether this is through work, study or on an individual basis.

As I have already stated communication is key and it is great to be able to advise that we will have a sub-committee working on social media and other communications. As a starter we now have a new LinkedIn account for general updates as well as the existing Twitter feed which we will use for event reports etc. I would urge you all to follow both of these accounts (look for IOSH Fire Risk Management Group for both) and be some of the first to get to know about the events, project progress and other significant happenings that we will tell you about. These new accounts coupled with the existing IOSH systems should ensure that we can all keep in touch much easier.

Until my next update may you all remain safe and well

Best regards,

Neil Vincer CMIOSH

Chair – IOSH Fire Risk Management Group