In January 1979, the British Fire Protection Systems Association (BFPSA) and the Fire Extinguishing Trades Association (FETA) set up a joint Secretariat to carry out the administration of both organisations

18 January 2016

A General Manager (Mr Dempsey) was appointed, new offices found, and a new service company/organisation would be set up – this was in February and was given the name of ‘The Association of British Fire Trades Ltd.’  The new General Manager was thrown in at the deep end, being sent straight away to go and see the Home Office (HO) with a view to re-establishing the HO Fire Alarms Consultative Committee and setting up a working group to discuss a recent HO seminar paper on the value of fire protection in buildings, and particularly false alarms. We had picked the right man, and although it took him a few months he managed a very profitable meeting with the Home Office.

Just prior to FIA forming there were 8 organisations run from the Kingston office, one of them being ABFT (which was owned 50/50 by BFPSA & FETA) who provided secretariat services to the rest; BFPSA, FETA, Fire Industry Confederation (FIC), FIC Trade Enterprises (FIC’TE), FIC Export, BAFE and FIRESA. FIC was a confederation of UK fire trade associations and included ASFP, BAFSA, ICEL, BFPSA and FETA. FIC’TE was set up to protect the associations and administer the contract with main industry exhibition organisers (now UMB Live and International Firex). BAFE grew to a size where it could be fully independent and employ its own secretariat in 2008. The Fire & Rescue Services Association (FIRESA) continued to be supported by the FIA secretariat as a separate association until 2013 when it merged with FIA and sits as a Council within FIA. Making things more simple allowed more time and resource to focus on developing the association to support its members more effectively. Membership has risen from 207 in 2007 to 671 at the end of 2015.