Dr Anne Eyre previews some of the presentations at this month's Fire-Related Research and Developments event to be held at the Fire Service College on November 15 and jointly supported by the Institution of Fire Engineers: 

Sir Graham Meldrum, Chairman of the Fire Service Research and Training Trust will give the keynote presentation on grant-making by this registered charity. Now that traditional sources of research funding are proving to be less available than previously, the trustees are putting more emphasis on making the Trust better known and they are taking a close interest in how the fire sector develops its own priorities in terms of fire research.

Fire Service Research and Training Trust  

As the name of the Trust suggests, most grants have been to assist the protection of life and property from fire, for the development of training for Fire Service personnel and generally to promote the efciency and effectiveness of the Fire Service in Great Britain. The larger grants have naturally been made to organisations rather than to individuals and the Fire Service is often, but not always, involved either directly or indirectly.

For many years the Trust has provided funding for a joint scheme with the Institution of Fire Engineers which is administered by the Institution and makes grants to individuals for relevant, approved research projects and courses of academic study.

Management, Administration and Governance Issues  

At a time when the management and governance of organisations is under as much scrutiny as ever, a themed session at RE12 will discuss relevant international research and best practices in fire-related organisations. The session will include an evaluation of the implementation of a clinical governance policy in The Fire Fighters Charity by Sharon Bailey, the charity's Assistant Director of Beneciary Services.

Dr Robert E England and Dr Susan Miller from the Department of Political Science at Oklahoma State University will discuss their research into the extent to which US re departments have adopted New Public Management (NPM) best practices (sometimes called reinventing government initiatives).

Proponents of NPM best practices argue for changing traditional administrative systems, such as auditing, procurement, personnel, and budgeting, to focus more on measuring results and promoting accountability. Their analysis will be based on survey data collected from the largest 250 US fire departments located in metropolitan areas that are staffed with career firefighters. Their study will allow both academics and practitioners to gain a better understanding of the extent to which large, career fire departments have adopted managerial best practices and provide insight on ways in which to facilitate their implementation.

Deputy Fire Chief and academic Dr John Moschella will, with Dr England, present the findings of a study on e-government applications among large US fire departments. The data on which the study is based comes from a content analysis of the websites of the largest 97 metropolitan re departments in the United States. Academic and practical implications of the research will be explained and recommendations for the enhancement of e-government initiatives among fire services will be presented.

Fire Suppression Systems  

In a session on responding to fire through technological means, DCFO Chris Enness, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, will present the case for domestic sprinklers, discussing the costs and benets, the success in Wales and the future. Across Wales an average of 18 people lose their lives to fire in dwellings each year. About 80 per cent of re-related deaths and injuries occur in the home.

The purpose of providing automatic fire suppression systems in new residential premises is to reduce the incidence of death and injury from fires in newly created residences in Wales. A requirement to fit such systems in all new residential premises would be a preventative measure which would control fires and reduce their spread, so that people could get out of their homes in the event of a fire occurring. It would also reduce the number of burns injuries from fire and the risk to reghters who are called to deal with domestic fires. The UK has witnessed a recent proliferation of designs for potential active fire suppression systems - from 5 (BSI, 1986) to 11 (BSI, 2011).

Simon Bird, an Associate Director at the Fire Protection Association and a Research Engineer at Loughborough University, will present a decision problem structuring method for the specication and selection of active fire protection systems. His research aims to develop a tool that will assist users in making an informed selection of a system that is likely to best suit their needs and thereby contribute to overall improvements in fire safety and outcomes.

Now in its sixth year, the FIRE/Gore Research Excellence Award will be presented at the end of the event. For more information visit: www.eventsforce.net/ife/re12/home  

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