The Fire Industry Association (FIA)

The FIA is the UK’s largest fire protection trade body, with more than 750 company members who comprise a large proportion of the businesses in the fire safety industry.

A not-for-profit organisation, the FIA is a major provider of technical fire safety training and qualifications, offering over 250 individual training courses on 17 different subjects at 16 UK venues.

The FIA calls itself the prime technical resource for the UK fire safety industry, providing a platform for industry stakeholders to come together to resolve industry issues and produce best practice guidance documents, while promoting the professional status of the industry.

The FIA writes and revises British Standards to give manufacturers and installers the best possible guidance to ensure that products are safe, reliable, and can be installed to a professional level.

It says it cares greatly about the safety of the public, which is why its employees regularly write for a range of different magazines, educating hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and business owners on their fire protection responsibilities.

The body holds over 150 committees and working groups and is involved with a broad range of organisations that have an impact on the fire protection industry.

History

The FIA originated as the Fire Extinguishing Trades Association (FETA) in the First World War in 1916, representing extinguisher manufacturers. After the Second World War, another organisation, the British Fire Protection Systems Association (BFPSA), was formed.

These two organisations merged in 2007 to become the FIA, describing itself as a community of professionals striving to raise standards of public fire safety. Since then, the FIA has added four new Councils, bought its own premises and become an awarding organisation (see ‘Training and Qualifications’).

Mission statement

The FIA’s stated objective is to promote, improve and perfect fire protection methods, devices, services and apparatus, providing technical support, guidance and opportunities for professional advancement through education and appropriate regulation through the representation of its members.

The organisation promotes and shapes legislation and the professional standards of the fire industry through close liaison with government and official bodies and other key stakeholders.

Training and qualifications

The FIA prides itself on its pioneering training and is a major provider of detailed and thorough fire safety training and qualifications within the UK fire protection market.

The body has trained over 30,000 fire safety professionals in 17 different courses UK-wide, boasting a pass rate of 93%. Delegates from more than 800 organisations completed an FIA training course in the last year. It offers a wide range of dates and locations, as well as bespoke training courses.

The FIA’s trainers are industry experts, as they are specialists within their respective fields, most of them benefitting from huge experience learned from over 30 years in the industry.

Dedicated to British Standards within the fire industry, and with a detailed knowledge of industry best practice, they can offer both invaluable insights and real-life examples of how theory relates to everyday on-the-job scenarios.

The FIA was given ‘awarding organisation’ status for the fire industry, setting up a new company within the FIA, the Fire Industry Association Awarding Organisation (FIA AO) in 2014, meaning it is now a nationally regulated organisation that is externally quality assured by OFQUAL, QIW and CCEA specifically for setting qualifications.

Third party certification

The FIA maintains exacting standards and insists that its members are third party certified, or on the way to becoming so.

Companies must have third party certification such as BAFE SP203 (for detection, gaseous fire suppression or emergency lighting), SP101/ST104 (for maintenance of portable fire extinguishers) or LPS1014 (for those working with fire extinguisher or alarm systems) to be eligible for FIA membership.

Manufacturers and suppliers must be BS EN ISO 9001 certificated.

It aims for its members to be credible and to possess a reputation for high quality and exemplary service.

Achievements

The FIA regularly and loudly trumpets the need for more qualifications to raise the bar of the fire safety industry. Its most recent achievement in the education field is its provision of new formal qualifications in fire detection and alarm systems. It now provides four separate qualifications each for designers, installers, maintainers, and commissioners. These were launched at FIREX 2017.

Its non-profit status means that all its funding goes straight back into leading key research projects in line with its principal objectives, providing CPD days, and giving vital seminars to its members to keep them up-to-date with the latest changes in the fire industry.

The FIA also runs refresher courses, for example on the servicing and maintenance of portable fire extinguishers, as well as health and safety and environmental courses.

It provides on its website general advice on fire safety, information on new or revised regulations, and over 400 guidance publications.

FIA People

CEO: Ian Moore

Chair: Derek Gotts

General Manager: Martin Duggan

Technical Managers: Robert Thilthorpe, Robert Yates, Will Lloyd

Export Manager: Dr Dave Smith

Awarding Organisation Manager: Ian Gurling

Compliance Manager: Kevin Stearns

Membership Manager: Chris Tilley

Training Manager: Michael Gregg

Membership

For details of all FIA member companies, their specialisms and services, go to the members directory.

Fees for membership are based on the company’s annual turnover.

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