It is a great privilege for me to be able to welcome all our readers to this first edition of Gulf Fire on whose pages will be found a very wide-ranging selection of features written by experts who represent the world of fire prevention, safety, and firefighting and rescue across the Gulf region and wider Middle East.
Gulf Fire becomes the fourth fire publication in the MDM stable, and its aim will be to provide a shop window for the entire spectrum of fire-related issues that are of importance and concern to the Gulf states. Of all the parts in the world that have an ever-growing stream of both public sector and private mega-project developments, with a concurrent impressive growth in business and commerce, the Gulf region must rank at the very top of the list.
The region’s building boom gained a significant impetus in 2014, when Dubai became the first Middle East country to be awarded the five-yearly global EXPO show to be held in the Emirate in 2020. This event will literally bring the world to Dubai’s door during the three month long show. According to a recent industry report (the Venture Onsite Report), major building projects worth AED 1.2 trillion are currently underway in the GCC region alone.
This unveils huge opportunities for multinationals in the construction sector, and by extension the range of services and supply provided by the international fire protection industry. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those companies who have chosen to support the launch of Gulf Fire by advertising their products. Without such support our dynamic new publishing venture would not be possible.
In this first edition of Gulf Fire, readers will see the first of a series of ‘Focus On’ features that will appear in our future issues. In this inaugural edition being launched at the 2016 Intersec event, this lead feature looks at Dubai Civil Defence and has been facilitated by the kind permission of Major General Expert Rashid Thani Al Matrooshi FIFireE. The helpful assistance of the General’s staff at Dubai Civil Defence in the preparation of the feature is also greatly appreciated.
Turning to the 2016 Intersec Show, the growth and influence of this annual event is truly staggering. The event began life as a modest conference and table-top show and has indeed come a long way in intervening decades. Now in its 18th year, Intersec is billed as the world’s largest security, safety, and fire protection trade show. A reflection of this is that 90 per cent of exhibition space was already booked back in September 2015.
Over 27,000 visitors attended the 2015 edition of Intersec, and it is expected that more than 1,300 exhibitors from 52 countries will participate at Intersec 2016, which returns to the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre with new features that reflect a constantly evolving regional and international landscape.
The strong international flavour and growth of the annual showpiece will be underlined by 16 country pavilions showing technology and innovative products from Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Korea, Pakistan, Singapore, Taiwan, UAE, UK, USA, and with for the first time, Iran, and the Czech Republic taking part.
The two day Intersec 2016 Fire Conference programme on 18th and 19th January 2016 reflects the fact that the fire safety market is rapidly becoming a dominant force in the Middle East. The region’s resurgent construction sector and increased infrastructure spending, along with the updates on regulations and safety standards have paved the way for a steep growth in the fire detection, prevention and protection industry.
Recent industry reports indicate that the fire safety systems market in the GCC region alone was valued at US$ 1.2 billion in 2013 and is expected to grow annually by 14 per cent up until at least 2018.
The 2016 Intersec Middle East Fire Conference will embrace topics including the Understanding of Fire Behaviour, and the Dynamics of Fire Safety, Fire Prevention and Evacuation strategies which are unique to different types of industries. To ensure successful Fire Safety Management it is vital to develop a solid understanding of the key elements that provide a foundation upon which to build for both today and the future.
Intersec 2016 also provides unrivalled opportunities for networking where current topics can be discussed and considered. Amongst these that are surely to be prevalent are the problems encountered with aluminium composite panels (ACP’s) on the external faces of a number of the region’s high rise towers, and their contribution to rapid upward and downward fire spread. Other topical networking issues, will no doubt, include successful firefighting strategies in tall towers, and the growth of non-fire technical rescue work, including hazmat operations, urban search and rescue (USAR) and rope rescue.
I frequently quote the fact that fire is both man’s oldest friend and enemy. Fire is, of course, at its most unforgiving in its immediate threat to life and property, especially when the unrelenting clock ticks during the very early stages of any fire.
As Intersec 2016 approaches, and many of the latest mega construction projects get under way, the value of fire safety engineering that delivers effective and reliable fire protection is of absolute paramount importance to the safety of all those who will resort to the Gulf’s ever-bigger showcase schemes.