IFE Year in Review: 2019

As 2019 comes to an end, we thought we would reflect and look back on what an exciting and busy year the Institution of Fire Engineers has had!


We kicked 2019 off with a record-breaking Membership Application Assessment Panel meeting. Between November 2018 and January 2019, we received more than 200 membership applications, what a great way to start the year!



In February, the IFE Board of trustees and International General Assembly visited Stratford-upon-Avon (home of IFE HQ) for their first meeting of the year.

IFE Board and IGA in Stratford-upon-Avon



The first-round of 2019 examinations took place in March. Candidates all around the world took exams in Fire Science, Operations and Safety, Passive Fire Protection and Fire Safety and Management.

The IFE London Branch and the FIA held a joint CPD event, designed to address fire safety solutions and concerns in the housing sector. Fire safety professionals and housing professionals attended this event at London Fire Brigade HQ.

The North Western Branch also hosted a CPD event in March, reflecting on the June/July 2018 Wildfire on Winter Hill. The presentation informed delegates of the many challenges that the fire presented and the methods delivered by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service to manage the incident.



IFE HQ employees attended the Fire Safety Event from 9-11th April at Birmingham NEC. It was an excellent three-day event covering not only Fire Safety, but also, Security and Health and Safety, meaning that we met more people than ever with a potential interest in membership.

April also saw our South Wales Branch host a ‘Fire Risk Management’ event at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service HQ. The day featured a variety of presentations and case studies covering subjects including fire safety and design, fire risk assessor competency and an update on the strategic developments post-Grenfell.

The South Eastern Branch organised a seminar on Advances in Technology in the Fire Safety Engineering Industry. The one-day seminar highlighted some of the new technology that is being showcased around the world in our industry, and included talks from Jason Hill, Andy Cunningham and Ray Hudson.



Chris Lowther

On 7th May, Chris Lowther was co-opted as a Board Director and Trustee of the IFE. Chris was thrilled to be offered the position, stating “The IFE really is the flagship of standards when it comes to all things Fire Engineering and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to keep moving such a historic and prestigious institution forward”.



The Board of Directors announced in June that Roy Bishop OBE QFSM FiFireE had been appointed as the new Chief Executive of the IFE. Roy was formerly Deputy Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade and a Past International President of the Institution. We also welcomed Steve Hamm MSc BEng(Hons) CEng FIFireE to the Institution as Programme Manager.

IP Richard Fowler in Malaysia

IFE International President Richard Fowler made a visit to the IFE Malaysia Branch. His three-day visit included meeting the branch council, practical fire risk assessments in Kuala Lumpur and a visit to the iconic Petronas Twin Towers!

June also saw two of our UK branches host CPD events. Our North East Midlands Branch visited the National Space Centre in Leicester for an interesting and thought-provoking event with more than 50 delegates in attendance. Topics discussed included professional competence, updates in technology and human behaviour. The IFE Yorkshire and Humber Branch hosted their own CPD event on Fire Risks within Heritage Buildings. Taking place at the historic Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham, the day featured expert speakers including Steve Emery, Katie Riley and Richard Clark.



Bruce Varner with past IP Richard Fowler

In July we held our 96th AGM and International Conference in the sunny seaside town of Brighton! The conference theme was Professionalism and Ethics in the Fire Sector, and featured some great guest speakers including the Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council, Roy Wilshire, Chair of the Fire Standards Board, Suzanne McCarthy, and Chief Executive of Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Ann Millington.

We also welcomed our new International President, Bruce Varner. Bruce has had a busy first few months as IP, preparing for next year’s International Conference along with visits to Malaysia, the UK, Australia and New Zealand representing the IFE.

The IFE Sri Lanka Branch hosted a one-day seminar on Building Fire Regulations. The programme line-up included discussions on Fire Detection Systems, Means of Escape and Emergency Lighting, and Structural Fire Protection Requirements.



IFE Board Members

Our new Board of Directors were installed in August, after being announced at the July conference. The Board welcomed James Lane as the IFERG representative, Chris Bilby as the new IGA representative and HG Tay and Peter Holland who were re-elected.

The IFE Australia Branch hosted their annual conference and exhibition in Melbourne and featured an impressive line-up of both local and international speakers, including Melbourne Lord Mayor, Sally Capp, Dr Angus Law from the University of Edinburgh and Sean DeCrane from UL.



IFE HQ Staff at the Fire Service College

In September IFE HQ staff had a visit to the Fire Service College in Moreton in Marsh for an exciting team building and learning day. Everyone got stuck in with the activities and found it a valuable insight into the different jobs’ firefighters carry out every day around the world.

September also saw our Southern Branch host an excellent CPD seminar at Fort Nelson near Portsmouth. The event had a turnout of 60 individuals who were able to hear from Nick Coombe MBE, Andrea White and Roy Bishop.

Southern Branch CPD Seminar at Fort Nelson



The IFE Scottish Branch have been busy in 2019, working on an exciting collaboration with Scottish Fire and Rescue and the University of Edinburgh. They have created a series of ‘Fire Tech Talks’, showcasing a range of fire-fighting research and tactics. They released their first video on ‘Basement Fires’ in October.

October also saw the second round of IFE examinations for 2019. It has been a very successful year for the exams and qualifications department, with more than 6,000 exam papers being taken in 2019 across the world!



The St Florian Book Collection hand over at IFE HQ

November was another busy month for the IFE!

The Annual Fire Research Event took place at West Midlands Fire Service HQ in Birmingham on 13th November. The day was packed full of informative sessions on topics including Governance and Regulation in the UK FRS, Dynamics of Fire and Fire Behaviour and Fire Engineering and Infrastructure Safety.

The annual Rasbash Lecture was given by Professor Albert Simeoni in Edinburgh. The talk focused on the challenges society faces and what can be done to overcome them, with an emphasis on Wildland-Urban Interface. Professor Simeoni was also awarded the Rasbash Memorial Medal.

Prof Jose Torero, Prof Albert Simeoni, Prof Dougal Drysdale, Peter Holland CBE, Prof Luke Bisby and Dr Rory Hadden at the Rasbash Lecture in Edinburgh

On 14th November we saw the official handover of the St Florian Book Collection from The Worshipful Company of Firefighters to the Institution of Fire Engineers. This historical and unique library collection was assembled during the lifetime of Patrick Sheen BSc, CEng, FIEE, PPIFireE, FAE, FRSA and contains 584 fire-related books. The handover was witnessed by IFE International President Bruce Varner, and Frances Blois, Master from the Worshipful Company of Fire Fighters.

To finish the month off we attended the Asian Fire Service Association Winter Conference in Sheffield and we also announced our 2020 AGM and International Conference which is being held in Birmingham! The 2020 conference theme is ‘Time For Change’, looking at ‘preserving the past, protecting the present and planning for the future.’



December was another exciting month for the IFE as we launched our new Online Membership Applications! From 2020 individuals applying in the UK and direct International applicants can apply for IFE membership online. It’s not just new members that can be excited about the launch of OMAP. In 2020 members will be able to apply for regrades of their membership online too.

We also launched our new and improved Portal! The MyIFE portal features new functionality as well as a new look, making it easier than even for you to manage your IFE membership.


2019 has been a great year for the IFE, packed full of CPD seminars, examinations, new members, consultations and events. We can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store!