ife SW"It was my pleasure to spend a day with IFE members and guests at Chatham Historic Dockyard, Kent, England on 13th June.

"The day commenced with an “ice breaker” session, a brilliant idea from Russ Timpson, key organiser of the day. We, the delegates, broke into three groups to introduce ourselves and said a little about our view on the topic of the moment- stay put? or defend in place? policies. As well as sharing our favourite sporting event for the summer. I met about ten members from the South East, and started the day on a really positive and helpful networking note.

"Business opened with a tremendous session, Jim Golt gave an inspirational and thought provoking presentation about fire safety in hotels. He asked really hard questions, of himself and the audience, it really got everyone thinking.

"Richard Fowler, then used some local and national examples to pose challenges about the efficacy of stay put policies. This really got the room buzzing, everyone has a view and an experience to share. We didn’t reach an answer, but I think we all left more aware of the issues.

"The branch AGM went swimmingly, Jo Fowler was thanked for so many things, IGA rep, 12 years as treasurer, Branch President and being made a Companion. Well-deserved and so proud. Well done Jo.

"Andy Gausden was also in the audience, winner of this year’s Godiva award. He thanked all those that had helped through mentoring and other support, another fine member of the IFE and the SE Branch.

"After a light lunch in the lovely Commissioner’s House in the Dockyard, we went on to hear Jo Fowler talk on the subject of Peeps - Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans, followed by Keith Todd, who gave a University Fire and Risk Management Perspective, using specific examples from the University College London. Incredibly powerful first-hand information from two of the leaders in their field.

"Can I place on record my thanks to the South Eastern Branch for the invitation and setting up such a positive day. Thank you."