Organisers preview this year’s conference on Fire Related Research and Developments, which will be held at West Midlands Fire Service Headquarters on Wednesday November 13.
The 23rd annual conference on fire related research and developments (‘the Research Event’), supported by the Institution of Fire Engineers and Nottingham Trent University, will once again be hosted at West Midlands Fire Service HQ in Birmingham City Centre. The Research Excellence Awards for best presentation and poster will once again be presented by FIRE Magazine and Gore (see box for previous winners).
We now invite presentation proposals that will showcase current research studies and innovative projects. We are interested in receiving proposals that reflect back on initiatives that have helped shape/influence today’s evidence base, policies and practice and look forwards in terms of the future nature and direction of fire related research and development.
Who Can Submit a Proposal?
We wish to hear from individuals and organisations looking to showcase evidence-based best practice, initiative and cutting edge research. Our conference attracts a wide audience from across the emergency services, the fire industry, research communities and other private or public sectors interested in the latest fire related issues, developments and concerns. We welcome a broad range of backgrounds and professional approaches including technical, engineering, legal, social, psychological, economic, operational, national and international perspectives. This gives our conference its distinctive multi-disciplinary and multi-agency flavour.
If you are interested in presenting at the conference please submit a short summary of your work (complete or in progress) using the application form available from https://annualfire.org/ by Friday April 26.
Last year’s FIRE Magazine/Gore Research Excellence Award winners and sponsors: FIRE Editor Andrew Lynch, Katarzyna Lakoma (best poster), Emily Watkins (best presentation), Peter Murphy (best poster) and Gore’s Suzanne Prince
Preparing a Proposal
Presentations may focus on any field of interest to the fire and emergency response and management community. This might include (but is not restricted to) projects focussing on: technical and fire engineering research; community safety and public engagement; firefighter health, safety and welfare; leadership and management studies; fire services in differing governance arrangements; collaboration of blue light services; interoperability and partnership working; communications, social media and the emergency services; risk management, civil contingencies and disaster management.
In considering submissions, we will take account of the following:
- Applications can only be considered if submitted using the proforma and must include the details requested and in the format stated.
- This will be a mixed audience of Fire Service professionals together with people from other sectors, emergency services and industrial and academic research. Presenters should take account of this and make allowances for differences in background knowledge.
- It is our experience that papers achieve the most impact if they focus on a well defined problem and discuss issues such as methodology, results and/or the evaluation of a particular project or innovation. We look for presentations that are relevant, authentic and original.
- We particularly encourage students, new researchers and those in the initial stages of projects to present their work in progress, even if results are not yet available. In this way they may benefit from valuable and supportive feedback from more experienced researchers and practitioners at the conference. A number of our presenters return to present results at subsequent conferences.
- While the conference provides an environment of support (particularly for new researchers and those with work-in-progress), research methodologies, ideas and findings will be subject to challenge/constructive peer review as befits academic meetings of this kind. Presenters must be prepared to justify their research – methods, evidence, analysis and conclusions – to an expert audience. There may be challenge and criticism and while we expect all participants to be restrained and courteous, we wish to create a forum for lively discourse.
As many submissions as possible will be included. Speakers will be invited to present short presentations (typically 20 minutes with five minutes for questions though longer slots may be offered) in plenary or parallel sessions. Poster presentations are also welcome. If there is considerable interest in submitting presentations, it may be necessary to make a selection of speakers and to offer space in the poster session to anyone not offered a speaking slot.
The 2017 FIRE Magazine/Gore Research Excellence Award for Best Presentation went to David Crundall, Victoria Kroll and Mark Jarman from Nottingham Trent University for their presentation ‘Assessing hazard perception and decision-making skills of fire commanders in an emergency response drive situation’. The Best Poster winner went to Dr Merle Missoweit for ‘FIRE-IN’, a fire and rescue innovation network including partners from across Europe. The winners are flanked by Gore Associate Graham Dobson and FIRE Editor Andrew Lynch
Submitting Your Proposal
Application forms are available from: https://annualfire.org/. The completed form should be sent by email to the Programme Co-ordinator, Dr Rowena Hill by Friday April 26. We are happy to discuss possible topics informally prior to submission. Please feel free to contact Rowena for advice or further information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration Costs and Booking Process
Presenters will be offered a reduced fee for attending the event. The presenter registration fee is £90 + VAT (speaking slots) and £130 + VAT (poster presenters). Prospective presenters will be notified of their selection after the deadline when a draft programme will be issued. At this stage presenters will be required to complete the presenter and poster presenter registration form and pay the booking fee by Friday June 7 in order to confirm their place on the programme.
Research Excellence Awards
The FIRE Magazine/Gore Research Excellence Awards will once again be presented at this year’s research event
Now entering its 13th year supporting the events, the awards will be presented to the most captivating research projects with the coveted best presentation and poster awards presented at the end of the day.
Research Excellence Award Winner for Best Presentation 2018
PhD researcher Emily Watkins from the University of Brighton presented her findings regarding the health and wellbeing issues female firefighters experience as part of their working practices.
Emily carried out an international survey of female firefighters. Eight hundred and forty four responded from 14 different countries. Her preliminary findings revealed that more than half of respondents would like further guidance on fitness and training, particularly strength training. Looking at the cohort from the UK and Ireland, Emily found that two thirds of respondents are concerned about the menopause and how it will affect them in the working environment. Only a small percentage, less than ten per cent, were confident they could fulfil their roles up to the retirement age of 60.
There are some interesting consequences of these numbers. As the policy push continues to bring in more female firefighters, it is more important than ever to provide a supportive environment that reflects the needs of women as they progress through to retirement age. Work on the impact of menopause on female firefighters will become increasingly important as more women complete their operational careers. It may be seen as a taboo subject and any barriers to discussing it should be removed given the high levels of concern raised in Emily’s survey.
Retaining fitness at all stages of life is important and it is good to see that Emily also shared her findings at the NFCC FireFit conference at the end of November (Anna Stec also spoke at the same conference). And of course, getting the Fitness Principles into the Fire and Rescue National Framework for England is also a major step forward.
‘Fire and rescue authorities have an important role in helping to ensure their firefighters remain fit and are supported in remaining in employment. Each fire and rescue authority must comply with the fitness principles set out at Annex C’.
The award for best poster in 2018 went to Professor Peter Murphy, Dr Peter Eckersley and Kirsten Greenhalgh for ‘A comparative appraisal of recent and proposed changes to the fire and rescue services in England and Scotland’. This was one of a crop of contributions by Nottingham Trent University to the Research Event.