Dear SFPE members,
First of all, I would like to wish you a merry holiday season for you and your families.
In the past, Europe experienced large fires that resulted in many fatalities. Other threats such as environmental damages, climate changes, and terrorism have come up, making Europe forget that fire could lead to human drama and tragedy. The Grenfell Tower event reminds us that fire remains an enemy to monitor and fight against.
The European Commission responded by creating a fire exchange platform. SFPE Europe is participating in this project.
When SFPE Europe members met on September 21 in Paris, we decided to abandon the name “ECCG,” which is not immediately understandable, and change to “SFPE Europe,” which emphasizes our affiliation with SFPE globally.
Our next big event is the Rotterdam conference in February 2018. I look forward to meeting all of you. I am sure that the combined efforts of the Benelux Chapter and headquarters will lead to a successful program.
Please relay the information within your chapters, in your networks and beyond that …
Happy New Year!
The activities of the Benelux Chapter have revolved around planning for the 2nd SFPE Europe Conference in Rotterdam 2018, and further development of our governance for the Benelux Board and website.
On October 19, we organized a breakfast conference on soft regulation. A lawyer
from the private sector made a presentation on the legal context of soft regulation in France (mainly a report prepared by the state council in 2013).
A lawyer from emergency services explained that soft law was already in place
through standards and guides. He also emphasized the advantage of soft law for new technologies and tendencies. The event was a success, with 60 attendees who expressed satisfaction about the subject and the speakers.
The French Chapter is preparing a seminar on evacuation that will take place on January 18, 2018, at la Gare de l’Est, one of the biggest railway stations in Paris.
On October 3, 2017, the Italian Chapter held its annual seminar in Milan. The title of the seminar was “Sprinkler 4.0, new Italian Fire Code and technological innovation”.
Seventy-two engineers participated to the seminar, which anticipated new fire protection needs, innovation and possible future development in a quickly changing environment. Nine SFPE members and 29 Associazione Italiana di Ingegneria Antincendio (AIIA) members were in the audience.
The seminar was quite successful. It provided 3 credits from the Order of Engineers out of the 30 credits needed yearly to maintain the qualification for a professional engineer.
The Norway Chapter has been going forward with the formalization of the organisation in national registers. On the technical side, we are planning work on a guideline for Brannklasse 4 — buildings with high consequences in case of fire and for which there are no defined pre-accepted/deemed-to-satisfy solutions.
The Polish Chapter organized a mini-conference on November 9 regarding fire protection in shopping centers. It was very well received. We are now planning a follow-up conference in January and another one on design issues involving suppression systems, to be held in May.
In the second semester, we have held several activities. On September 29, we held a debate over “Sprinklers: when, where and why?” On October 27, we made a technical visit to Coimbra University fire laboratories. On November 24, we debated “Smoke control: are the code prescriptions enough?” and on December 12, we paid a technical visit to the Portuguese National Emergency Control Centre with the support of ANPC (Portuguese AHJ).
We started our roadshow to launch the free student membership program with three open classes at the ISEC (Lisbon), IPCB (Castelo Branco) and ISEL (Lisbon) universities. In February 2018, we have two more open classes scheduled for FEUP (Oporto) and UAlg (Faro, in the Algarve) universities, covering the entire Portuguese continental territory. We are developing a list of themes for research projects as master’s degree theses at these universities. Some of these research programs have already started and will be first presented at an international conference in June; SFPE Portugal is co-organizer.
We also launched a company membership campaign to raise funds and already have sponsors for all 2018 events.
We are finishing the details of our plan of activities for 2018. It is very ambitious — 11 events covering all Portuguese regions: Algarve in the South, Lisbon and Coimbra in the centre, Aveiro and Porto in the North, and both our archipelagos – Madeira and Azores. These activities will include three debates, three technical visits, two seminars (in the islands), two courses and a conference with a live broadcast on the Internet.
We continue to grow in social media, with 239 followers on Facebook, 125 on Linkedin and 42 on Instagram. Soon we will launch a campaign to boost our YouTube channel.
The Spanish Chapter is busy preparing and planning activities for 2018.
We have come quite far in creating several technical working groups related to different areas within fire safety engineering. These groups will be presented during spring 2018.
We are also in the process of evaluating the possibility of creating a student membership program.
We have also created a special working group that will look into how to increase memberships and raise funds for the chapter. This will be a key initiative that is planned for the first months of 2018.
SFPE Sweden has, among other things, focused on referrals, articles, studies concerning unified CFD-calculations in Sweden and lectures during the second half of 2017. All activities can be summarized as follows.
- All four local groups have had one educational meeting each. The topics were quality in the fire protection industry in Sweden, thermal fire calculations, and fire protection in buildings made of wood – in general and fire protection in high-rise buildings made of wood. These were popular and well-attended.
- An article about one of our guidelines has been published in a well-known paper and a lecture (represented by SFPE Sweden) took place at a conference in October.
- Our referral committee has also (as usual) responded to several letters of referrals from the Swedish Fire Protection Association, Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency and National Board of Housing. Since September, another referral committee has also been formed within the chapter. This committee is responsible only for research referrals.
- SFPE Sweden has provided input to the National Board of Housing regarding references to standards in national regulations at their regular reference group meetings. More details will be provided about a document/guideline regarding the purposes of national fire safety regulations.
- We have started a so-called Round-Robin study about quality and unified CFD-calculations in Sweden. Results will be presented at our conference in May.
- We have been accepted as a case study group for the SFPE conference in Hawaii.
- Last, but not least, SFPE Sweden has started work on our annual conference, which will take place in May 2018. The theme and topics will focus on “the future and fire protection engineering.”
We are pleased to confirm the winners of the 2017 SFPE UK Chapter awards:
Best Fire Engineering Strategy 2017
- Eoin O’Loughlin: Bridge Theatre, London
- Runner-up: Lisa Farnell – St Michael’s Mount, Cornwell
Up and Coming Fire Engineering 2017
- Christine Pongratz
- Runner-up: Adam Eaton
The committee members would like to thank everyone who has taken part and made the effort in submitting their work. It was not an easy decision to select the overall winners. The standard of entrants was exceptionally high this year. Comments included:
“As with previous years, the 2017 entrants do not disappoint and it was extremely difficult to pick a winner. All of the fire strategies submitted are excellent and unique and demonstrate the breadth of capability of Fire Engineering ...”
“All candidates have worked on a wide variety of projects, including some very similar ones, thus making it difficult to make a distinction between them.”
This is high praise indeed, given the skills and expertise of the judges! We look forward to holding the competition again in 2018 to showcase the best talent in the UK.