Our last IFE Branch update went to press just as the current COVID-19 situation took a turn for the worst. At that time we were celebrating the new decade being kicked-off in the Middle East with a very successful Intersec 2020 Exhibition but we didn’t know the impact that the COVID-19 virus would have on a global scale. We were looking forward to Intersec Saudi Arabia taking place at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center from 23-25th March 2020 but unfortunately this event became a victim of the COVID scenario as did many other events across the region and globally.
Unfortunately the regional and global lockdown measures impacted on the IFE Examinations which were due to take place on Thursday 12th March and Friday 13th March 2020 but unfortunately these had to be cancelled at short notice following a government ruling aimed to help restrict the spread of the virus which resulted in the immediate closure of gatherings at training establishments and similar venues.
The announcement to delay Expo 2020 was no doubt a very difficult decision to make but the right one to make as the COVID situation escalated around the world. This delay will be problematic for contractors and suppliers involved with the project but for the country, the region and the world – the Expo in 2021 could serve as the premier event commencing a new global era. Difficult as it may be to currently navigate through the current issues caused by the hardships businesses and people are faced within the short-term, it’s important to realize that the Post-COVID Expo would truly put Dubai at the center of the world and cement its legacy. The event would in all probability be the first Post-COVID event of such scale and would be uniquely important in setting precedent, quashing fear, facilitating discussion and shaping the direction of the Post-COVID world.
Each of the GCC Countries that have developed 2-year, 3-year, 5-year and 10-year vision plans and guidance across the region are being re-visited by ambitious leaders that are bracing for the challenges and positioning their countries to seize the opportunities Post-COVID. Within the IFE and our businesses, it is prudent to do the same. We can expect delays as the plans get rewritten but we shouldn’t lose hope as the Post-COVID world will expedite the evolution the region has been gingerly seeking. Priorities will be reset, the things that really matter will be clearer – people will waste less and work more and an entire generations will learn lessons that will shape the future for decades to come.
We are in the midst of a rapidly developing situation in which we must focus on true value propositions in the every aspect of our business and personal lives and hopefully the IFE can weather this storm and move forward providing greater support and benefits to our members and GCC community alike.
IFE UK Headquarters Update
A great deal of work has been going on behind the scenes to ensure it is very much business as usual at the IFE HQ. Staff and volunteers continue to work remotely, and virtual facilities have been utilised across the organisation to host online meetings, including those of the Membership Application Assessment Panel, IFE Registrant Group and the Fire Risk Assessors Panel.
Last month saw the launch the IFE new online CPD hub, which features a range of content that both members and registrants of any level can view and add to their CPD log. Presentations from our SIGs and past IFE International Conference sessions are included, as well as links to external content from UL, FIA and FRED Talk Live. We are continuing to add new content to the hub, ensuring a whole range of CPD is readily available to our members and registrants during this current climate and beyond.
Due to the current global lockdown the Board of Directors have chosen to postpone the IFE International Conference and AGM 2020. We are now looking at how we can host these events in a way that keeps everyone safe. It is therefore likely that the AGM will be hosted in London alongside a smaller conference. Provisions are being explored for those who are unable to attend in person and we will, of course, provide more information once these plans have been finalised.
With the next session of IFE exams due to take place in October, we understand that candidates may need access to our Online Shop for support materials. We can confirm that the Elementary Fire Engineering Handbook (IFE50) is now available to purchase through the shop, which will support candidates across the range of exams available later this year. Please be aware that due to the current circumstances, delivery of your order may take longer than usual. The rest of the Online Shop will continue to remain closed until further notice.
As ever, the priority continues to be the welfare and safety of the IFE’s staff, volunteers and membership. The IFE Executive and senior management team will continue to review the UK government guidelines and update you on any new developments as necessary.
We have been working with and are in discussions with our sponsors to develop the idea of IFE qualification/ CPD in the Passive Fire Protection (PFP) arena. This is in alignment with our plans for virtual meetings and training etc. with the Bentley Academy in Dubai and their international locations. A key area to explore and make improvements is within the realms of Building Assurance, in particular, the knowledge around passive fire protection – this has been a concern across the fire sector for a number of years.
The IFE have an established PFP curriculum which links into IFE examinations and qualifications. The idea is to make available approximately 20-25 hour long cpd sessions over a period of 6 -8 months following the IFE qualification in PFP curriculum. The sessions will be on MS Teams delivered by different experts as online presentation with a basic multiple choice exam at the end of each session to check the persons learning of each module. This will allow members to participate in either level 2 or level 3 training with the option to complete the exam and gain IFE qualification at the end. The qualification is an option but should be encouraged. We are particularly keen for this training to be offered to Civil Defence departments across the GCC to ensure a consistent level knowledge is available and shared. Attached is a link to the basic IFE PFP curriculum: https://www.ife.org.uk/write/MediaUploads/Exams/325_Level_2_Certificate_in_Passive_Fire_Protection.pdf
As mentioned above the March 2020 examinations were cancelled due to COVID-19 government lockdown requirements at short notice and apologises go to candidates inconvenienced by this cancellation but it was wholly outside of our control.
The IFE is currently planning to provide examinations in October 2020 as in previous years. At this stage, we are following our usual processes and the timetable provided (see below) is in line with the timetable provided last October. Depending on the COVID-19 pandemic situation, we may need to consider changes nearer to the examination date but, at this stage, we are hoping to stay as close to the standard timings as we can and to keep all of the examinations running on the same day. The examinations are planned for Monday 12th October 2020 as per the timetable below
We anticipate that social distancing and spacing of candidates will be the key issue and therefore there may be a need to consider using more than one room for the examinations. However, it is difficult to estimate how many people will wish to take examinations in October and it may be that smaller numbers of candidates will reduce the pressure on spacing.
In closing we should be looking forward to the positive aspects of the lockdown being eased and getting back to `business as usual’ in what ever form this may be. In the interim it is important to stay safe and keep alert to avoid any future health setbacks.
For more information, go to www.ife.org.uk/branches/GCC-UAE