The Fire Protection industry is growing in importance and stature in most parts of the world in step with growing urban development and a general acknowledgement that it is too important to be anything less than of the highest standard. We are, after all, in the business of protecting life, property and the environment.
In countries like Australia, which is seeing a construction boom in most capital and regional cities, the rise of the vertical village, tower blocks that are home to hundreds, creates multiple challenges when considering the ongoing safety of inhabitants during a fire or emergency.
Design, the choice and installation of compliant materials and safety technologies are key of course, but once occupied, the need to ensure correct maintenance and repair becomes the safety component that should not be relegated to a box-ticking exercise administered by the person with the cheapest quote.
As the nation’s peak body for the Fire Protection Industry, Fire Protection Association Australia (FPA Australia) believes strongly in improving professionalism in the industry both here and abroad. An improving standard internationally creates momentum for continued improvements at home.
One way FPA Australia pursues this goal is to share information about the many systems, processes and technical standards we have developed over our 55-plus years. For example, we have a highly cooperative arrangement with Fire Protection Association New Zealand (FPANZ). Under this arrangement, FPA Australia provides FPANZ with our systems and Intellectual Property which they then use to advance the Fire Protection industry in their country.
This means that FPANZ has been able to fast track their evolution to arrive at that higher level of industry professionalism we all strive for, creating safety benefits for the New Zealand community.
We are also happy to share with international industry organisations, our advocacy strategies and how we have been able to progress our policies as we promote a more professional standard. This includes conversations with various Government bodies. For example, we have been in direct discussions with the Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, the Hon Victor Dominello in the State Government of New South Wales (NSW), about plans to reform the building profession. Minister Dominello has adopted a raft of reforms related to the Fire Protection industry that FPA Australia has long championed.
These are once in a generation changes that are long overdue. They will provide a clear framework for the industry and provide the community with confidence in the buildings in which they live, work and visit. FPA Australia believes the NSW reforms provide a guide for Australian and international jurisdictions to build a better fire protection industry.
They include a legislated accreditation system which delivers to the community the certainty that those working in the fire protection industry are properly trained, experienced and have the skills to perform the task for which they have been employed.
The outcome will be better protected and better maintained new and existing buildings. This is an issue that matters in any country because in the end it is about being safe under not just your own, but any roof.
For more information, go to www.fpaa.com.au