I am delighted to introduce UK Fire. This represents the fifth fire-related title from MDM Publishing Ltd who are well respected within global fire media. As well as being a new venture for MDM this is my first editorial role following a 34-year career in the Fire and Rescue Service.
Shortly after joining MDM I was approached by the Directors about the idea of a UK-focused fire-safety and fire-and-rescue magazine. With the company’s success in the International Fire Sector over the last 19 years, I was now part of an organisation with a proven track record in providing quality information to global fire professionals, and I had been presented with an opportunity to provide a focus on UK-based issues – what a gift.
The starting point for the magazine came from feedback from a number of readers and advertisers of the existing and established magazines. They told us that whilst the global magazines were informative and interesting, there was a gap for UK-based fire professionals, whether they be from a fire design, build, compliance and enforcement perspective or from the fire-and-rescue services. Continuing research and engagement with potential readers and advertisers demonstrated a clear appetite, and from this UK Fire was born.
A challenge for UK Fire will be to deliver a successful magazine in a diverse fire sector. We know we have to provide content that spans the wide disciplines of fire engineering. We are committed to presenting material that contributes to an overall increase in knowledge and understanding between those who design, build, maintain and inspect the built environment; those whose innovation and products contribute to fire prevention and protection; those who educate, enforce and inform on fire, road and community risk; and those who respond to protect the public, our communities and properties. We believe that UK Fire has the opportunity to connect and share information across the sector, which will assist in a raising of knowledge, understanding and professionalism, and promote dialogue between the range of fire professionals we serve.
The UK fire sector is in the midst of wide-ranging scrutiny in the wake of the Grenfell fire. There is an opportunity to create positive change from such an horrific event. Whilst the inquiry is ongoing there are signs that lessons will be learned from Grenfell and the sector will need to take a leadership role and work together to ensure required changes are implemented swiftly and efficiently. The outcomes of the inquiry, the results of forensic analysis and the opportunities to deliver up-to-date and dynamic guidance for the ever-changing world of building technology, fire-safety management and firefighting will require shared understanding.
For Fire and Rescue Services there is a new process of governance and scrutiny. The move to the Home Office and creation of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has placed fire and rescue under new Government leadership and scrutiny. The stated purpose of HMICFRS is to ‘promote improvements in policing and fire and rescue services to make everyone safer’ and if this can be achieved, it is surely a purpose we would all support.
A number of Fire and Rescue Services have moved, or will be moving, within the remit of Police and Crime Commissioners, and as the outcomes of these changes in governance and scrutiny yield the improvements they are intended to deliver I am sure remaining Fire and Rescue Authorities will rise to the challenge.
In response to the shared challenges and the need for a consistent and shared vision for the future, the professional leadership of the Fire and Rescue Service have just celebrated their first year as the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC).
Whilst all of this attention is focussed on the sector there remains the need to design, build and maintain homes and businesses. Current standards need to be complied with and firefighters still need to respond to emergencies.
At a time when the UK fire sector has shared issues there is a greater need than ever to come together to share challenges and develop solutions. In creating and publishing UK Fire we aim to provide readers with relevant information to develop, maintain and improve their professionalism in this critical sector of life safety and to provide a new and accessible publication to assist.
We are exploring opportunities to recognise individual commitment to maintaining professional standards and to creating a balance of articles and features in future issues.
The success of UK Fire is dependent on us meeting the needs of you, our readership. We will need your feedback and I give my personal assurance that we will listen and respond accordingly.