President's Report - 28 February, 2021

Posted on : Monday, 1 March 2021

Dear members,


The old saying goes "there are only two certainties in life:  death and taxes".   


I think we could easily nominate a third - change - although change is a certainty, the pace of change is variable. In our industry the pace of change is generally dictated by external events.  


While we have no control over these external events, we do have control over our preparedness for them.  


How can you do this?  The most effective way is to make sure that you:  

  • invest in your staff and ensure they are appropriately trained, qualified, and (where appropriate) accredited or licensed; 

  • always act with integrity; 

  • develop a positive customer focussed culture in your business. Remember culture trumps strategy every time; 

  • ensure that you are employing world's best practice in all of your operations; and 

  • review, at a business level, your environmental footprint - is the way you are operating your business environmentally sustainable?  


For its part, the FPA Australia Board has resolved to engage a consultant to advise it on ways to help the industry to improve its environmental impact. 


Previously we might have recycled or reclaimed materials however, changes over recent decades have made some equipment used in the industry more cost-effective to dispose of rather than recycle.   


The Board recognises that the industry has to maintain a social licence in order to operate responsibly and sustainably. This requires us to employ a more qualified, professional workforce and to innovate and find solutions in an environmentally friendly manner.


The alternative is to fall to the mercy of regulators or be left behind by more canny operators.  


Fortunately, the Association is already being proactive in this space by:  

  • implementing FPAS in NSW, which is changing practitioner attitudes and helping to deliver a higher level of professionalism; 

  • working with government and other stakeholders to create a national standard for fire protection qualifications; and 

  • developing a building manual for residential buildings which will set a benchmark for how apartment buildings should be maintained.  


We are always aiming for world's best practice in fire safety protection - to leave the industry AND the community better prepared and protected from the adverse impacts of fire. 


Nobody can predict future events with any certainty, but as an industry, we can aim to get ourselves into the best position possible to deal with any eventuality. 


We don't have to leave the future of our industry to chance and good fortune - we can take the lead and improve our practices now to preserve that future ourselves. 


Stay safe! 


William (Bill) Lea, AFSM