I hope everyone had a good summer and is ready for some seasonal changes. This is the point in the year that I look forward to moving south when I retire. The IFE-USA branch has been remarkably busy over the past few months. We have traveled to represent the USA branch at the IFE annual board meeting, AGM, and Fire Conference 2022. We have transitioned our treasurer to Paul Brooks, and are working on business management services that will enable the board of directors to become more focused on delivering you quality content.
IFE Annual Board Meeting, AGM, and Fire Conference 2022
IFE-USA members Bruce Varner (IFE Board Strategic Advisor), Mark Chubb (IFE Board Chairman), and Randall Hanifen (IFE President and IGA Representative) traveled to London United Kingdom to participate in the Annual Board Meeting, International General Assembly (IGA) meeting, and the AGM/Fire Conference 2022. The board meetings were held at the Park Plaza County Hall hotel and consisted of many great conversations related to issues that present not only at the IFE home office level, but also within each branch. We found much energy and determination among attendees to ensure IFE fulfills the needs of the members, but also provides leadership in current and emerging fire engineering topics.
Some of the topics that were discussed, as they are having applicability over many branches throughout the world are emerging technologies, particularly the Electric Vehicle fire problem. Many discussed initiatives that were taking place in their country, which are similar to efforts being undertaken in the United States, but I am disappointed to report that no country has found completely workable solutions to extinguishing the fires quickly and efficiently. However, I am happy to report that many areas are working with the manufacturers and developing prevention and mitigation strategies that will lessen the probability of fire related problems. It was noted that nearly every large city throughout the world is either considering or has eliminated the use of E-Scooters in their subway systems, as well as limited the areas in which residents of multi-family residences can store the E-Scooters. While E-Scooters can have detrimental fire results in the building, the storage of cars in parking garages, especially under buildings, which is often the case in many cities in the United States, does not find regulation. This is why it will be important to be involved in your community with the fire code and installation of charging stations for EV’s. Ohio is currently working with one hundred million dollars to install charging stations throughout the state. This type of infrastructure is what will move the prevalence of EV’s into our communities and we need to be involved.
Another area that was discussed is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The IGA group watched a presentation from Women in Fire Engineering (WIFEng). Their goal is to attract and recruit women into the wide range of fire engineering professions. These professions range from fire engineering professions, such as fire sprinkler design and installation to firefighting. While in the United States, we often view these as separate professions, many areas of the world have a much closer connection to the fire engineers and the fire suppression personnel. As we move forward with current and emerging issues, we are seeing a need to have much closer connections to all facets of fire engineers. As departments work to recruit personnel that will be able to deliver today’s service needs as well as tomorrow’s, it will become incredibly important to have a diverse workforce that feels welcome and can provide input.
I would like to thank both Paul Brooks and Randy Parr for their efforts in transitioning the treasurer’s position. One of the challenges of not having a physical headquarters and headquarters office staff is that we must work throughout the nation to accomplish business. Paul had to fly to Texas to meet Randy to finally get all documents signed and transitioned from our bank. We are happy to report all went smoothly in our transition and Paul is fully functional as our Treasurer.
Business Manager Search
As we look to the future, IFE-USA will need the support of a paid business manager. Bruce has dedicated many hours over the years and has done so on a completely volunteer basis. As Bruce looks to retirement in the next year or so, we are not lucky enough to find someone who can afford to put in the number of hours that he does every month for free. To remedy these issues, the board has been working to find a contract person that can offer limited administrative services for a small annual fee. We hope this will prevent the board of directors from becoming completely overwhelmed with the day-to-day administrative tasks and focus on a strategic level needed to ensure we are meeting the members needs now and into the future.
I hope that everyone is finding value in the network and educational sessions offered by IFE and encourage everyone to utilize their post-nominals. The caliber of leaders we have as members is our best marketing tool. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me anytime at President@IFE-USA.org
Randall W. Hanifen, Ph.D., CFO, FIFireE
Institution of Fire Engineers-USA Branch