26 May 2014 by Graham Simons, FIA Technical Manager

St Juan les Pins, France, earlier this month

The Euralarm AGM & Conference was set in a glorious venue with the hotel sitting on the edge of the Mediterranean in southern France just along from Cannes. Frequent helicopters passing overhead evidenced the arrival of the rich and famous for the film festival attempting to upstage our own prestigious event.

Euralamr conference setting
The setting for the Euralarm conference

But once we launched there was no time to be distracted; more than 50 delegates had assembled to follow the proceedings and Marc Chabaud, Euralarm President, gave a warm opening introduction. Marc highlighted the release of a formal Annual Report for 2013/2014 that overviewed all the actions and achievements of Euralarm during the year. There followed an informal dialogue led by our own Chairman, Martin Harvey, allowing the various Section and TC Chairs to give some details of their activities and to discuss their plans for the future.

Derek Harrington speaking at Euralarm
Derek Harrington speaking at the conference

Two changes to the statutes were proposed and accepted:

  • The first will allow research associations to become members (giving an opportunity for growth) and the second was an easing of the rules for selection of auditors
  • The day closed with a presentation from a group of French associations - GESI, GPMSE, IGNES & SVDI - of their common view on the future of Product Certification in Europe supporting ‘one stop testing’

So, with the first day’s work done and with plenty to talk about, we assembled at a restaurant on the beach close to the hotel for the Gala Dinner and an excellent networking event.

The second day featured the Safe and Secure Solutions for Smarter Cities conference. The following topics were covered:

  • Public Emergency Alarm & Response in Crisis situations
  • Fire Safety and Security in Hotels
  • Smart Safety and Security in Cities 2020

The theme of Fire Safety and Security in Hotels is of particular interest to the fire industry and some interesting facts were presented.

Did you know…

Europe is the top worldwide tourist destination with 480M tourists visiting every year. The sector represents 4% of the EU GDP!

The Euralarm position is that Europe needs world-class products and systems, harmonized fire safety policies and strong enforcement by local authorities. Currently legislation across EU member states is inconsistent and Euralarm is calling for a legally binding EU-level instrument such as a Directive.

Well that gave us all plenty to think about but there was still the final day featuring the various Euralarm Section meetings. I attended the Fire Section and we had a very busy agenda.

One topic that has been discussed for some time but is starting to become more important is the relationship between the EN 54 series and the ISO 7240 series of standards. ISO has changed its rules; since 1st May 2014, if a standard has not been adopted by more than five countries when it comes up for its five year systematic review, it will be withdrawn. The European fire industry needs to decide whether or not to support the ISO standards that will allow free access of their products to growth and sales in the International markets outside Europe and the US.

Strikes by French air traffic control stranded some of the delegates forcing them to endure yet another day in sunny St Juan les Pins allowing further debate of the proceedings... unfortunately I made it home!