The Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) has undertaken a comprehensive review of its communications and activities to improve its services and qualifications for members and strengthen its global influence in the two key areas of competence and sustainability.
With over 100 years of history, the professional membership body enables those in the fire sector to increase their knowledge, professional recognition and understanding of fire through a global discourse. It is instrumental in shaping a future world that is safer from fire.
Steve Hamm, Chief Executive, IFE, explains, “The fire safety landscape in which our members operate is changing at a faster pace than at any time since the foundation of the organisation in 1918. This is both exciting and challenging and we have had valuable input from members, volunteers, staff and stakeholders in shaping our future direction.
“Across the board our members’ roles and responsibilities are evolving, influenced by advances in technologies and materials, external factors such as climate change and learnings from major incidents such as Grenfell. These are all influencing new regulations and standards, new ways of working and highlighting the importance of knowledge and information sharing to evolve our skills and capabilities worldwide.”
To support its future strategy, the IFE has expanded its team to include Technical Director Peter Wilkinson to lead on the IFE’s technical collaborations, special interest groups and input into consultations. Gill Haynes has taken on the new position of Relationships Manager to lead on developing support for the organisation’s international network of branches and extensive cohort of volunteers.
As part of its plans to enhance competency, the IFE has introduced a new suite of qualifications inspired by global industry needs and feedback from members and examiners. There are plans to build on the success of these by bringing in at least two new qualifications for 2022. The final selections are yet to be made but urban search and rescue and fire risk assessment are currently being explored.
The IFE is also building closer relationships with higher education and university establishments to broaden the depth and diversity of skills and competency across both technical and social disciplines. This work will create clear competency frameworks centred on membership, professional registrations, knowledge sharing and accessible career development pathways for all.
The shift to virtual learning and events, which began during 2020, will continue. This will widen access to CPD and other events to members around the world, increasing their ability to knowledge share and learn from each other.
Aligned with these plans, are the IFE’s initiatives to address sustainability, from adapting to the challenges driven by climate change to building resilience in the profession. Future practice will be informed by smart cities, connectivity and big data alongside advances in building materials, fuels, transport, energy storage, water and waste management, together with the technologies that fire professionals can use to predict, manage, monitor and deal with fire risk and fires.
Steve concludes, “Sustainability is an area where we feel the true value of our global community will come to the fore and we will be looking at ways to expand our branch network and CPD opportunities to share ideas and expertise that can inform best practice, spark fresh research and deliver advances in our professional capabilities and understanding.
“This will be a transformational year for our organisation, one in which we will build upon feedback from members around the world to strengthen our leadership, our communications, our responsiveness and our relevance to fast changing global fire safety and competency needs to ensure our members continue to thrive as trusted professionals.”