As 2018 draws ever nearer the importance of the IFE in promoting international best practice has never been stronger. 2018 will bring together the international fire community to celebrate the 100th year of the IFE.
From a historical perspective, it was as the Great War (1914-18) was drawing to a close that there was a consensus to form a professional association of fire engineers. On 31 October 1918, ten Chief Officers in the UK attended a meeting held at the Fire Brigade Headquarters in Leicester for the purpose of setting up such an organisation. This initial meeting was followed by a second meeting in London on 2 January 1919, when it was announced that 40 Chief Officers had agreed to become members. In 1924 the way was opened for an application for incorporation to be made official with the support of all concerned. This was actioned immediately and at a meeting in London on 12 February 1924, authority was given to proceed. The first registered location of the IFE was at the offices of their Solicitors in Edinburgh and this meant that the Institution was first registered in Scotland and has been ever since. Due to being registered in Scotland an office has had to be maintained in Scotland to this day, despite the fact that since at least 1934 all the day-to-day operations has been carried out in England.
Since being incorporated, the IFE upholds professional standards within all public and private fire sectors by offering assessment of knowledge, experience and development and engages with major stakeholders to offer international conferences, identify and promote good practice and enhance technical networks worldwide. The IFE is also an Ofqual recognised Awarding Organisation. Members are involved in Special Interest Groups and specialist areas such as: fire investigation, fire dynamics, transportation, heritage and industrial fire safety to mention just a few of the groups. Members are involved with consultations with government in the drafting and implementation of fire safety legislation and regulations; structural fire protection of buildings; fire insurance and arson investigation; human behaviour in an emergency, fire detection and alarm systems, fire appliances and automatic fire fighting systems.
As we look forward to 2018 and beyond it is exciting to think that the Middle East now has an IFE branch and local representation. The branch offers a centre for IFE examinations every March and October, and a growing network to promote best practice across the region and fire sector. Key actions that the founding committee are currently looking at include:
- Updating the Business Plan for the Branch
- A local Inauguration event
- Providing an examination centre for October 2017 and March 2018
- Sponsorship – developing key alliances to effectively grow the branch
- Conferences and Workshops – looking at content and frequency of events
- Celebrating the centenary with suitable events
It is an appropriate time to reflect on the mission statement of the Institution:
To promote, encourage and improve the science and practice of Fire Extinction, Fire Prevention, and Fire Engineering, and all operations and expedients connected therewith, and to give an impulse to ideas likely to be useful in connection with, or in relation to, such science and practice to the members of the institution and the community at large.
As the newest branch of the IFE we look forward to participating in the centenary celebrations and making a real impact within the Middle East and globally in promoting international best practice within the fire sector.
For more information, go to www.ife.org.uk/branches/GCC-UAE