FIRE AID International Development and Humanitarian Aid Conference 2015

Tue 27, Oct, 2015

In a new development for FIRE AID, on 22nd October 2015 London Fire Brigade hosted the 7th annual International Development and Humanitarian Aid Conference at their headquarters in Southwark

In a new development for FIRE AID, on 22nd October 2015 London Fire Brigade hosted the 7th annual International Development and Humanitarian Aid Conference at their headquarters in Southwark. The sold-out event, held in London for the first time, included speakers and guests from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the FIA Foundation, the Department for International Development (DFID), the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA), representatives from across the UK Fire & Rescue Service, many FIRE AID member charities and other aid organisations, and the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) who signed a memorandum of understanding with FIRE AID during the event.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP informs delegates of FIRE AID’s development and the work of its members and thanks LFB for their hosting of the event

The conference was chaired by FIRE AID Chair Jim Fitzpatrick MP and Deputy Chair Emma MacLennan, with opening remarks from London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson CBE, QFSM. Focusing on the theme of ‘Road Safety and Resilience’ the audience were delighted to hear from Dr Etienne Krug (Director, Management of Non-Communicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention, World Health Organisation) and Saul Billingsley (Director General of the FIA Foundation) – who provided delegates with a global view of road safety, the frameworks in place to address the worldwide problem of road death and injury, and its devastating impact on global development. The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include tough targets for road casualty reduction and sustainable mobility for all. FIRE AID members have an important role to play in helping meet these targets – particularly by improving road crash response.

Dr Etienne Krug (left) talks about the UN Decade of Action on Road Safety and the ‘Fifth Pillar’ and Saul Billingsley (right) focuses on Road Safety and Sustainable Development and the new Global Goals

Providing a practical example of efforts in this area, Bruce Hoad of Operation Florian and FIRE AID provided an inspiring presentation about collaborative work of FIRE AID members in the Republic of Moldova. He demonstrated the powerful impact that several FIRE AID members are delivering in the country across all 5 pillars of the UN Decade of Action.  Questions to the panel from the audience addressed issues such as funding, vehicle standards, and public transport risk.

Bruce Hoad talks about effective partnership working in Moldova

Following the Vimpex-sponsored lunch, the afternoon session began with the theme of ‘Building Resilience’ with speakers including: Dr Kathy Oldham MB ChB, MSc (Head of Greater Manchester Civil Contingencies Resilience Unit) who spoke about measuring urban resilience in Greater Manchester, Harvey Siggs (Leader of Mendip District Council, Somerset County Council) who provided examples of managing risk to build disaster resilience with regard to the Somerset flooding, and George Bryant (Vimpex and Operation Florian) who delivered a comparative analysis of fire risk assessments between refugee camps in Kenya and Thailand.

Kathy Oldham provides experience from Salford – one of the 8 communities highlighted globally for their Disaster Risk Reduction

Stephen Twigg MP joined the event in his capacity as Chair of the House of Commons Select Committee on International Development. Many delegates took the opportunity to ask Mr Twigg about DFID’s priorities. He referred to the volunteers involved in projects as a ‘national asset’ and assured participants that he would report back to the Select Committee on FIRE AID’s activities. Mr Twigg felt that the new Global Goals would help greatly with aligning the work of FIRE AID members with that of DFID.  

Stephen Twigg MP answers questions from the delegates

Several further project examples were provided during the course of the afternoon. AFSA’s Yasmin Bukhari and Keith Trotter focused on their excellent work in developing Punjab Rescue in Pakistan, whilst SESHAA’s Alf Wilson updated the conference on FIRE AID’s activities in Tajikistan.  From SARAID, Rob Davis and Paul Incledon reported on their recent mission to Nepal following the devastating earthquakes.

AFSA’s Keith Trotter and Yasmin Bukhari (left) and SARAID’s Rob Davis

The conference yet again provided excellent examples of how UK expertise and volunteers are addressing some of the world’s most critical challenges. It helped to forge new relationships and succeeded in engaging new audiences – highlighting these key issues to some representatives for the first time. FIRE AID would like to extend special thanks to the event sponsors Vimpex, our host LFB, our expert speakers and guests, and volunteers from Kingston University.  

To view the conference presentations please use the links below:

Dr Etienne Krug, World Health Organisation (WHO)
Bruce Hoad, Operation Florian and FIRE AID
Saul Billingsley, FIA Foundation
Harvey Siggs, Somerset County Council
Kathy Oldham, Greater Manchester Civil Contigencies Resilience Unit
George Bryant, Vimpex and Operation Florian
Rob Davis and Paul Incldeon, SARAID
Alf Wilson, Staffordshire Emergency Services Huminatarian Aid Association (SESHAA) and FIRE AID
Keith Trotter and Yasmin Bukhari, Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA)