The 2019 FIREX International, held on 18–20 June at ExCeL, London, was another enormous success. Once again, the event saw increased attendance, with a 4% rise in visitors from 73 countries, representing a combined annual budget of £6.3bn, helping FIREX maintain itself as a global hub for the fire safety profession.
Additionally, a huge volume of these visitors were business owners or senior managers, meaning FIREX was better placed to help visitors and exhibitors generate business and new connections.
The changing face of fire safety
In recent years, the fire-safety industry has been constantly changing in response to new developments and major incidents. FIREX International has evolved with it, adding new features and seminars that engage with the industry’s key issues. For instance, the ongoing aftermath of Grenfell was a significant theme, as well as the growing need for robust competencies among fire-safety professionals.
Connecting the industry
Driven by its guiding ethos to make life safety a right rather than a privilege, FIREX International introduced a brand-new seminar programme of timely and relevant educational sessions and helped connect visitors and suppliers through networking forums and the 1-2-1 Meetings Service.
Attendees came from a broad cross section of the fire-safety industry, representing manufacturing, construction, government, installers and more.
Feedback has consistently highlighted the quality of these visitors and the expanded networking opportunities. The Managing Director at Smoke and Fire Curtains Ltd told us: ‘It’s been a great exhibition this year, with expanded networking opportunities and new buyers seeking the latest tech on the market.’
In this way, FIREX International provided a vital link between thousands of fire-safety professionals and the products, ideas and leaders transforming the industry.
Connecting the industry and prioritising networking was particularly important for an industry fraught with uncertainty. With Brexit dominating the legislative landscape, many key fire-safety questions are being left unanswered by government and regulatory bodies, and FIREX 2019 gave fire-safety professionals an opportunity to engage with these issues.
Touching on some of these critical developments, the seminar programme focused on strategies, regulations and competencies, and was designed to help professionals stay aware of legal requirements and new methods for keeping people safe in the aftermath of the Hackitt review. The programme touched on the regulatory changes following the tragedy and the consequences of inaction by a government preoccupied with leaving the European Union.
Indeed, the Fire Protection Association’s MD Jonathan O’Neill launched a blistering attack on the government’s response to the Grenfell tragedy, accusing it of having ‘ducked the issue of regulatory change’. He also suggested that too many people tasked with adhering to fire-safety regulations are not properly qualified, but he gave delegates reason to be optimistic thanks to the ready-made solution: third-party certification.
In this environment, the desire for certainty makes it more important than ever for companies and fire-safety professionals to remain resolutely compliant. As a result, visitors heard about competency in tall-building fire prevention and passive fire protection, about how competency is defined by the FIA, and from the FSA’s Tom Brookes about exactly how competency of fire technicians is changing in the post-Grenfell landscape.
To meet these challenges and uncertainties, FIREX visitors were introduced to an innovative display of products and solutions. Many exhibitors used FIREX as a platform to launch some of their brand-new products in front of an audience of fire-safety buyers, including Kentec, Patol and 4EVAC UK.
FIREX also welcomed the largest stand in its 46-year history. Fire Solutions transformed the visiting experience by offering a one-stop shop for some of the most innovative fire-safety products on the market, presented by six companies from the same commercial family – Advanced, Apollo Fire Detectors, Argus Security, FFE UK, Klaxon and LAN Control Systems.
The year ahead
FIREX International 2020 will focus on the issues, products and individuals driving fire-safety excellence. And to better reflect the industry calendar, FIREX International 2020 will take place on 19–21 May 2020 – we look forward to welcoming you to ExCeL, London next year.
For more information, go to www.firex.co.uk