The Fire Australia Conference and Tradeshow 2019 attracted more than 1500 visitors across three days on 14-16 May, offering delegates access to local and international expert speakers, exclusive off-site tours of fire protection facilities, a view of the latest products and services, and much more.
With the show returning to Melbourne this year, the conference program kicked off with a consumer’s perspective on the regulatory and compliance failure underlying the combustible cladding problem, with a presentation from Brad Bloomfield, an apartment owner from the Neo200 building which caught fire in February this year.
“Our expectation as consumers is that a home, when we buy it, should comply with all the relevant codes. A building is an expensive asset, but we’ve got less consumer protection with that asset than with a car or a toaster,” Mr Bloomfield told delegates.
Conference delegates also heard about outcomes of the Grenfell fire in London from Gary Strong of RICS in the UK, and the experience with home fire sprinklers in the US from Lorraine Carli of the National Fire Protection Association, among many other speakers.
On the tradeshow floor, the event experienced a 25 per cent growth in exhibitor numbers on the previous year, with a large number of attendees attracted by a tradeshow program that included live demonstrations and presentations.
“I would say fire doors are a bigger issue than ACP cladding right now, because we know how many buildings have cladding in the UK now, but we don’t know how many don’t have working fire doors, like those in Grenfell.” Gary Strong, RICS (UK)
“80% of all fire deaths happen in the home. So how do we solve the problem? We know the solution exists. The risk of dying in a home fire decreases by 85% if sprinklers are present.” Lorraine Carli, NFPA (US)
“[For the Shergold-Weir report] We asked every state and territory what audit programs they had in place for commercial buildings, and none of them had one. This is a sector that has been developing at a rapid rate, with no effective oversight.” Bronwyn Weir, Weir Legal and Consulting
The Southern Hemisphere’s largest fire protection tradeshow
The Fire Australia 2019 tradeshow attracted 74 exhibitors from Australia and around the world, including equipment suppliers and manufacturers, testing facilities, software companies, service providers and more. The tradeshow was officially opened by Sue Eddy, CEO of the Victorian Building Authority.
The show, the largest dedicated fire protection tradeshow in the Southern Hemisphere, also included for the first time a dedicated stage for exhibitor product demonstrations. The tradeshow featured presentations on small business management and marketing, a seminar for end users, a technicians’ breakfast and a presentation on FPA Australia’s SPARK discussion platform.
This year saw an increased number of facility managers, building owners and developers attracted to the show, part of a strategy to connect more end users with the fire protection industry.
“We are really happy with the level of engagement from the tradeshow attendees,” said Tracy Horsley of exhibitor Warringtonfire. “As a sponsor also, it’s been a worthwhile event.”
Fire Australia 2019 conference delegates attended four off-site tours around Melbourne on the final day of the event. The four tours visited:
- Warringtonfire: a live AS 5113 test burn and facility tour
- CROWN Melbourne: an exclusive tour of the casino’s fire protection systems
- CSIRO: a look inside CSIRO’s Fire System Laboratory
- MCEC: a tour of the fire protection systems in the new Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre expansion
Charity Dinner raises funds for burns treatment
Around 200,000 Australians suffer burn injuries each year, and an average of 82 die of fire-related causes each year. Half of those admitted to hospital with burns are children, and 40% require skin grafts.
These are the figures that drive the work happening at the Fiona Wood Foundation, one of the world’s premier burns treatment research organisations and FPA Australia’s Official Charity Partner. For those affected by burns, the Foundation is at the forefront of improving treatment of the cosmetic, functional and psychological issues related to burn injury.
As part of the Fire Australia Conference and Tradeshow 2019, FPA Australia held the annual Fiona Wood Foundation Charity Dinner to raise much-needed funds for the Foundation’s life-saving work. The evening raised a total of $20,653 for the Foundation.
This year, the Association was pleased to play host to Professor Fiona Wood AM herself, the head of the Foundation and FPA Australia’s Ambassador.
In an interview with the evening’s host Andrew Daddo, Professor Wood spoke about the path she took into burns treatment and research, the experience of leading the team treating survivors of the 2002 Bali bombings, and promising research that points to future potential burns treatments.
Nearly 300 attendees also enjoyed an appearance from comedian Lehmo, and helped raise funds for the Foundation’s work through a raffle and silent auction. The Association also thanks Charity Dinner Sponsor Chubb.
For more information, go to www.fireaustralia.com.au