Aico’s award-winning training now CPD certified by the Fire Industry Association

Aico have recently had their award-winning Expert Installer core module CPD certified by the Fire Industry Association (FIA)

Aico, an Ei Company, are the market leader in domestic Fire and Carbon Monoxide protection, pioneering new technologies and offering high quality Fire and Carbon Monoxide alarms, have a strong relationship with the FIA, whose logo is recognised within the fire industry.

It is not just about alarms, Aico also offers award-winning CPD-accredited training, free of charge, in the form of their Expert Installer training scheme which is now CPD certified by the FIA. Expert Installer is designed to provide Electrical Contractors with all the information that they require to select, site, install and maintain Aico alarms to the highest quality. It also ensures that attendees are up to date with the latest legislation and requirements.

Aico’s National Technical Manager, Andy Speake, who is responsible for overseeing and developing the industry leading Expert Installer training scheme, added: “Aico is proud to be a member of the FIA and excited to display the FIA-CPD Certification on our Expert Installer Core Module. The FIA is at the forefront of fire protection in the UK and offer their own range of industry recognised courses and qualifications. To have our own training scheme approved by the FIA is a great accolade.”

The Fire Industry Association is the largest fire protection trade association in the UK with over 900 members and is a major provider of fire safety training with the objective to promote, improve and perfect fire protection methods, devices, services and apparatus.

Chris Tilley, Membership Manager for the Fire Industry Association, commented on Aico’s successful application for certification: “The FIA is proud to support its members and would like to congratulate Aico on their recent successful application for certification of their CPD session ‘Aico Expert Installer – Core’ under the brand-new FIA CPD Certification scheme. Our new CPD Certification Centre is an exclusive member benefit that gives members the opportunity to submit their CPD presentations for the FIA to assess for technical and educational quality, and give the FIA stamp of approval thereby legitimising the CPD session within the fire industry.”

Companies unite for digital mental health awareness sessions

New Excellence in Fire & Emergency Awards partner Aico and the Electrical Industries Charity are joining forces to help educate and increase understanding of mental health awareness with virtual, online training

As part of its ongoing commitment and support to the Electrical Industries Charity (EIC), Aico is organising mental health awareness sessions online via webinar. These easily accessible sessions will be delivered alongside their award-winning Expert Installer Training scheme and provide interactive and informative training.

In April, Aico revamped its CPD-accredited training and launched it digitally as a free of charge webinar. These daily webinars were in high demand and received high praise from users. Building on the momentum generated from these sessions, Aico has announced it will be facilitating the delivery of online mental health awareness sessions, in partnership with the EIC. These sessions will be run by a qualified EIC trainer and aim to provide an understanding of what mental health is, knowledge on some common mental health issues and encourage challenging of the stigmas associated with mental health. This initiative will help educate in ways to look after your own mental health and to support someone who may be in distress.

These sessions began in West Lothian College with the webinars being delivered to apprentices and electrical engineering students following their Expert Installer training. The webinars were limited to six students to allow for better interaction and engagement with the EIC provider and had a positive response from the students. College Principle Jackie Galbraith said: “These sessions provided an excellent resource for students to ask questions and talk to their peers.”

The free-of-charge mental health awareness sessions offered by Aico and the EIC will be rolled out nationwide to those within the electrical industry in the coming months.

The EIC is an industry charity that, for over 100 years, has recognised the importance of providing the right support and meeting the wellbeing needs of individuals to create better workplaces and industry communities. Aico is proud to be supporting the work of the EIC and has supported the charity for a number of years through charity events.

For information on the mental health awareness sessions and to sign up, visit:

For further information on the EIC and the ways in which they can offer support, visit:

Black Lives Matter: Systemic racism damages the fabric of our society

The Asian Fire Service Association calls on fire and rescue services to reflect on and take the lead in challenging structural racism within their organisations

Recent tragic events have highlighted the deep-rooted problem of race discrimination within our society. We need to all undertake some honest critical introspection and accept that racism exists in various forms in our own organisations.

This calls us to work together and make change happen. Now is not the time for silence; we strongly believe black lives matter, we stand in solidarity with our members and partners and are committed to helping build a world where everyone can live with dignity and be free from fear. We therefore echo and support the statement from the National Fire Chiefs Council that: ‘Black Lives DO Matter; our thoughts are with everyone grieving and hurting following the death in the USA of George Floyd. We embrace inclusion and reject racism. It is a tragedy we should all be talking about. We are proud to champion the struggle’.

Similarly, we support actions taken by staff who #taketheknee to express their solidarity.

The need to act now should not come as a surprise to any one of us. We know there is a significant under-representation of ethnic minorities at the top of UK boards, as shown by the government’s recent Parker review. Closer to home and the Fire Service the 1999 – Thematic Review – Equality and Fairness in The Fire Service report and subsequent reports – AFSA’s Smoke and Mirrors report (2018) and the Independent Cultural Review of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service all consistently point to the need to review a range of leadership and cultural issues as well as taking specific steps in a wide range of areas to improve practices attaching to equality and fairness. This is an issue that has not disappeared within our organisations and the Fire Service needs to commit to making real and substantial change now.

Responding to recent events, Dalvinder Rai, Chair of the AFSA, says: “Whether it is racism, discrimination or prejudice – all have no place in society let alone the Fire Service. The Fire Service as a community provider and employer must work with staff and diverse communities to challenge and work towards eliminating prejudice and commit to a culture of inclusion. I encourage chief fire officers and other leaders to dedicate time and effort in discussing current events with staff and community stakeholders.

“On behalf of the AFSA I encourage all fire and rescue services to take the following key actions:

  • Publicly share your organisation’s position on #blacklivesmatter
  • Engage with black and minority staff and staff in general
  • Demonstrate public leadership from the centre and at a local community station level
  • Share and reiterate the organisation’s commitment towards equality, diversity and inclusion.

“I encourage you to visit our revamped AFSA website and book on to the series of webinars we have organised. We will also continue to share weekly updates with you.

“The AFSA will continue to listen and work with staff and leaders within the Fire Service on race equality through dialogue and support.

“Finally, it is crucial we all continue to work together to ensure equality, diversity and inclusion remain a top priority of Fire Service reform, policy and practice as well as experience. Therefore, using themes we are all very much familiar with – let us challenge ‘systemic racism within fire and rescue services through prevention, protection and responding’.”

Fire awards recognise equalities champions

The Women in the Fire Service UK Awards 2020 honoured remarkable individuals who have developed, encouraged and reinforced the role of women in the sector

Winners and runners-up in seven categories were selected from over 50 candidates across the UK.

Young Person Role Model Award

Winner Demi O’Mellon (Scottish Fire and Rescue Service)

Demi works closely with young people involved in the Fire Reach programme. The programme, running in North Lanarkshire for over 14 years, supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to develop their skills and improve self-esteem. Alongside Demi’s responsibility for the development and delivery of the Youth Engagement Strategy, she co-ordinates activities and supports the development of service personnel. Her clear passion and commitment for the cause has inspired future generations of firefighters, with many programme attendees now considering a career in the Fire Service.

Woman Firefighter Rising Star Award

Winner Danielle Heathcote (Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service)

Danielle has attended over 100 community engagement events. These have centred on positive action and recruitment, inclusion and diversity, including ‘Have a Go’ days encouraging more women to become firefighters; Pride events working with LGBT+ communities; acting as a visible role model at International Women’s Day events, recounting her personal journey within the Fire Service and why she feels more women should become firefighters.

As well as using social media to challenge myths and stereotypes, Dani has attended a local nursery where one little girl had said she couldn’t be a firefighter as it was ‘only for boys’. Dani visited with the fire engine and talked to pre-school children about the Fire Service. She is confident in challenging the use of outdated terms such as ‘fireman’ and constantly encourages young people at schools and colleges to consider a career in the Fire Service, through delivering presentations independently, helping at careers fairs and taking part in assemblies, where students guess her occupation. They never guess that she is a firefighter!

Men as Allies Award

Winner Tim Pope (South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue)

Tim was described by his nominator as ‘having been at the heart of diverse recruitment and being brave and trying new things, which whilst a priority for every fire and rescue service, has generated measurably different results. He has also been open in sharing our approach and resources with other services and this has in turn helped inform the Home Office’s own diversity push. Away from his day-to-day work, he is an authentic advocate of the real impact of equality, diversity and inclusion in our organisation. He will always – professionally and appropriately – call things out if he thinks they are unfair or inequitable, and truly believes in the spirit of equal access and opportunity. On a personal level, Tim is always looking out for the well-being of others’.

Corporate Star Supporter Award

Winners Toni Annette-Norman and Linda Baker (East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service)

Toni and Linda are volunteer coordinators and involved in the active promotion and recruitment of women of all ages and abilities to support the fire service. They have recruited women with a variety of abilities, including learning and physical needs as volunteers, who contribute to community events, station days and prevention campaigns. Toni and Linda are inclusive, encouraging and ensure that our volunteers have fun, as well as developing them and contributing hundreds of hours of volunteering to our community. Their nominator said: ‘They are a double act… they ooze inclusion, fun and community spirit and have helped ensure that women get a sense of worth from contributing as volunteers to community safety as part of our service’.

Dany Cotton Inspiring Leader Award

Winners Dr Anne Scoging and Lynsey Seal (London Fire Brigade)

Anne was nominated by her team at LFB who told the panel: ‘Following Grenfell, the Counselling and Trauma Service expanded to ten counsellors all from diverse backgrounds. Anne champions equality, and her recruitment of our highly experienced and diverse team already represents how London Fire Brigade wants to move forward. She supports us in our development and self-care as psychological therapists working with trauma, and brings out the best in us. She’s shown great vision and commitment in terms of developing the counselling service and raising the profile of mental health and wellbeing issues within the organisation. Last year in particular, has been through her championing of outreach work—helping to develop the mental health peer group of United Minds, the new Mental Health First Aiders network, and creating accessible online modules to increase awareness of mental health issues within the brigade’.

Lynsey has quietly and tirelessly supported equalities and inclusion by helping to develop and lead one of the brigade’s most diverse teams; acting as a role model and mentor for female staff; suggesting and supporting the children’s book My Mummy is a Firefighter; forging links with Sandhurst military academy; and organising brigade participation in events highlighting opportunities to young women at school (and older women). She is a Chartered Surveyor and is regarded as a true leader in her field of work. Lynsey has an exceptional passion for public service, the Fire Service and our communities and is an incredibly modest person.

Bright Light Award

Winner Kimberley Jerray-Silver (London Fire Brigade)

Kimberley was described as going above and beyond her role as a firefighter working with the elderly in her community. Holding regular open days and tea parties, arranging transport, food, entertainment and helping the older people access services they often do not realise is available to them. Kimberley was described as “living and breathing” London Fire Brigade, an incredibly kind person and inspiring role model to everyone she meets.

Event Champion Award

Winner Sonja Sinclair-Elechi (Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service)

Sonja was described by her nominator as working tirelessly to set up and maintain the Critical Incident Support team for many years. ‘It is a well-oiled and respected service provided to all members of Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service. In addition to this Sonja has set up a welfare system accessible to everyone – all whilst working full time as a payroll officer’.

Finally, the Awards Panel gave special recognition to two young people who had made contributions to voluntary organisations or the wider community.

Matthew Adcock received special recognition for his contribution during the Australian bush-fires. The catastrophic impact of these fires left 12-year-old Matthew, who is passionate about animals, concerned. He began producing birdhouses (with supervision) and selling them. His homemade creations proved incredibly popular. He has raised £2,000, which will be donated to animal welfare causes across Australia.

Emma Smith received special recognition for her work to improve systems used by WFS. Emma volunteered her time and skills to help creating a new automated booking form. Her work helped reduced the administration required for our annual training and development event. She also created email signatures to help benefit the promotion of WFS and its aims.