Fire Safety Conference 2020

Fire Safety Conference 2020 saw over 400 delegates treated to a vast and diverse range of presentations...

L-R: Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Officer, Geoff Somerville, Brian Cunningham, Chairman of BCNI Fire Safety Panel, Lorna Stimpson, LABC, Lord Mayor Cllr Mealla Campbell, Armagh City Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council and Tom Lavery, Chairman BCNI.

With the first week of February came the return of the popular Fire Safety Conference
to the Armagh City Hotel. As ever, the main function of the conference was to share fire safety knowledge and to promote expertise throughout Northern Ireland.

“The conference is, as always, a great place to debate, discuss and raise awareness of fire safety” were the opening comments made by the Fire Safety Panel Chairman, Brian Cunningham: “Here’s hoping that everyone takes away with them, a better understanding of fire safety.”

Year on year, the Building Control Northern Ireland Fire Safety Panel strives to raise standards among construction professionals and pushes for fire safety awareness to be considered at all times.

The conference has had a steady growth over the years, and with 2020 came its 24th birthday and a total number of 440 delegates over the two days. They were all treated to a series of speaker presentations from Holland, England, Scotland, Wales, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The speakers represented a wide range of backgrounds including:

• Academia
• Research
• Testing
• Fire safety engineers
• Fire fighters
• Consultants
• LABC representatives
• Smoke control specialists
• Specialist trainers
• Virtual reality consultants.

Each of the speakers drew on vast reservoirs of knowledge gained from research, case studies, specialist study and, above all, experience in their respective specialist disciplines and fields.

Never far, however, from the minds of speakers and delegates alike, were the dreadful scenes following the Grenfell disaster, and the subsequent findings of the Hackett report which has had a massive impact across the industry and how everyone views fire safety.

With the focus this year on ‘Promoting Fire Safety’ some of the topics that were covered included:

• Building Fire Safety – Practical Advice
• International Fire Safety Standards
• Building a Safer Future
• Fire Testing & Reviewing Large Scale Testing
• Smoke Ventilation Systems
• Fire Engineering – Large Outdoor Events
• Raising the Bar – Competence
• Human Behaviour & Reducing the Risk for Older People
• Personal Evacuation Plans

The Conference was also attended by 20 trade stands, all providing up-to-date information on the latest developments and innovations in passive and reactive firefighting.

Some of the speakers and delegates offered excellent feedback:

“My first time here, I was delighted and honoured to be asked to do a presentation and I will be back next year as a delegate!” one of the speakers, Simon Sandland Taylor, said after the conference.

Gary Strong, who delivered an excellent presentation on ‘International Fire Safety Standards’ said: “I attend Fire Safety Conferences regularly and this is undoubtedly the best by far, I will definitely be back next year.” Luckily for Gary, plans are already in place for 2021 following the resounding success of this year’s conference.

For more information on the Fire Safety Conference, e-mail