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Fireside Chat with Will Lloyd
My name is Will Lloyd, I’m one of the technical managers at the FIA, I’m also the chair of FHS/12 which is the British Standards Committee that oversees all the fire standards, fire detection alarm standards from BSI. I also sit on FHS/12.1 which is the installation standard. I sit on GW/1/5 which is the security standard for transmission equipment to ARCS. I work for so many British standards that it’s ridiculous.
I’ve been in the industry for over twenty-three years which is frightening. I started life as an electrician and got bored, then I moved into fire and security and now I’m in purely fire. I’ve worked for different trade associations, I’ve worked for the Electrical Contractor Association as their fire and security technical manager and unfortunately, I write most of the training courses so, if you’ve been on a training course then it’s all my fault and I’m sorry.
How have you been affected by Covid?
It hasn’t affected me that much, I’ve always worked from home. All that happened was everyone started working from home and then everyone realised they can contact you because you’re working from home so, my life has just become incredibly busy and now the new normal of talking and holding meetings on Zoom and via Teams. I spend so much time on Zoom and Teams that it’s unbelievable. I’ve worked from home for the last five years so, not much has changed for me.
My car broke down at the start of lockdown, then I brought a new car and I’ve never used it.
Do you have any pets?
Yes, I have two cats named Lola and Indy and as with all cats, they’re a nuisance but really loving at the same time. Indy is nine and Lola is seven. I have a boy and a girl. The boy is obsessed with food and will do anything for food if you want to steal him, give him food and he’ll be yours.
What’s your favourite movie of all time?
Fight Club, but I’m not allowed to talk about it.
Describe yourself as a teenager in 3 words?
Non-conformist, geeky and a bit odd.
What is your biggest pet peeve/hate?
Lateness, I really hate being late, it annoys me if I’m late and vice versa, if others are late and people who don’t reply to messages.
If you could be from any other decade (or era), which would it be and why?
There’s no decade or era that I’d want to be in other than now and this is it. I prefer to be in the now rather than the past because now is so exciting and so interesting. A lot of people are always looking back and saying how great it was. No, it wasn’t great in the ’80s, I lived in the ‘80s, it wasn’t fantastic, then they say wasn’t it great in the ‘90s, no it wasn’t. if you went back and you told someone in the ‘80s one of the biggest annoyances we have now is to prove that we are not robots and they would ask “Well, how do you do that, by some bionic test?” and we answer by saying No, we just have to click a button that says we’re not a robot.” Things are changing things are evolving and now is where it’s at. If you’re not in the now then you’re missing things so, I don’t want to be from another era. I like the now.
What is your favourite quote and why?
‘I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member’ by Groucho Marx. A) Because I really like Groucho Marx, he has an incredible wit and B), because I’m not a joiner. That sounds strange seeing as I work for a membership organisation and I’m not a joiner. I like to have my own voice and I like to say what I think and to some extent joining certain organisations which I shall not name, means you have to agree with them. I’m quite happy not joining certain organisations because then I can say that I don’t agree with them. It’s just me being contrary.
If you weren’t in the fire industry – what would you be doing and why?
I’d be a lawyer or barrister. It’s always fascinated me which is probably why I do technical stuff and if it wasn’t that I’m dyslexic and hated school, I left school at 16, I’m dyslexic and did not like school and school didn’t like me. I wasn’t prepared to do the reading and writing to become a lawyer or the schoolwork but if it wasn’t for that, that’s what I’d be doing.
What’s on your Spotify or iTunes?
Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, I have their new album, Pink Floyd Dark Side of the moon, Emmy the great, The Flaming Lips and Early White Stripes. I have quite eclectic taste. I like Blues and Jazz and stuff like that.
If you could have any three people (dead or alive) over for dinner – who would they be?
Bill Hicks the American comedian, Stephen Fry because he’s an interesting person and Terry Pratchett the author. I like to hear how people look at the world and Bill hicks had a view of the world which was really interesting and really funny. Stephen Fry is an incredibly interesting eclectic, knowledgeable and engaging person. Terry Pratchett looked at the world and twisted made it become this world. These are all people who look at things differently.
What two things would you take to a Desert Island?
A motorboat and fuel and if that’s not allowed then my answer would be Gin and Tonic.
Name a book, movie or tv show that has positively shaped you and why?
A hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy. Somebody was taken out of their own world and into something that was completely and utterly fantastic
If you were animal, what animal would you be and why?
A giant tortoise mainly because they live forever, and I plan to live forever or at least die in the attempt. So, living forever sounds good, they move around slowly, they sleep a lot, they saw the ‘80s change which all sounds good. Everyone loves a giant tortoise.
What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
I have a figurine of death on Binky from Discworld. Death has a white horse named Binky. Someone once gave it to me and I really like it.
What's your favourite thing in your closet right now?
I have a large collection of odd T-Shirts because I’m odd. My favourite is my Bad Robot T-Shirt, Marvin the paranoid android and the Bad Robot logo mashed together to make sad robots.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Teleportation, I don’t mind flying, I’m happy to fly and I don’t mind travelling, I just hate the process of flying. Just wanted to get from one point to another point all that’s in between isn’t great.
Where’s the most interesting place that you have ever been with the Fire Industry?
Because I used to install and I’ve worked for interesting people, I’ve been to Dubai for some exhibitions and events. I’ve been to Germany. The most interesting place I’ve ever been to is the Dinorwig power station which is the electric mountain in Wales which is the pumped power station and hydroelectric power station and I worked inside the mountain which is quite nice. You drive into a tunnel and go down, park up and you’re then inside of a mountain with all the turbines and the valves and so on and it was quite interesting. I got told off for not answering my phone and I had to explain my phone does not work when I’m inside a mountain!
What's the best piece of advice you've received?
If you don’t know something, then ask. and If you think someone is doing something wrong, it doesn’t matter who they are then tell them because one of two things are going to happen. You’re going to be wrong and you’re going to learn something or you’re going to be right and you’re going to prevent a mess-up, which could cost a lot of money.
What time did you get to work this morning?
Usually, about 8 am and seeing as I work from home, the commute is easier.
What does your usual day look like?
There is no such thing as a usual day. Being part of the technical team of the FIA I answer technical calls and I get to speak to a wide variety of people. Consultants and one-man bands just looking for a bit of advice. I deal with two councils. The Fire Risk Assessment Council and The Fire Engineering Council so, I have council work that I need to do. Because of my standards work, I have Standards to read and because I’m part of the technical team I review submitted CPD stuff to our CPD certification Centre. I oversee training development and writing and I’m trying to update the training courses. I could be talking to the Home Office one moment and then talking to someone installing a fire detection and fire alarm system the next. It’s so varied which is why I really like my job.
What makes you excited about the future of this industry?
Technology, change and new things. The fire industry is very mature, we’ve been doing this for a hell of a long time and the technology is there, but things do change don’t they? There are new technologies emerging and there are new ways of doing things, people are thinking of new ways of doing existing things. The Internet of Things (IoT) which is just such a buzzword and it’s a term I hate because no one knows what it is. Sometimes people start with acronyms and work backwards and I think that is exactly what IoT is from someone who doesn’t know how the internet works. The cloud is just someone else’s computer. I much prefer the term the interconnectedness of all things.
What does the fire industry need?
It needs to embrace regulation instead of trying to fight it. Embrace third-party certification and personal certification, embrace competency, embrace qualifications. The train is starting to leave the station and if the industry does not get on board, then they’re going to be left behind. One of the great things about getting on board, especially with the FIA is that we’re a membership organisation, we work for the members, therefore we can take you to the right place and a lot cheaper than anyone else.
What do you like about the fire industry?
I like how it’s small. Sometimes people use the term ‘the fire safety community’ and it is a community. The fire industry is so incestuous and small, it’s a small group of people in relation to everything else, and you get to know lots of people it is a community where everybody knows everybody else and it’s great, I really like that.
What matters most to you?
Fairness. Let’s take Standards work for instance. It’s easy to skew Standards in one direction and for the benefit of one person or one organisation. I prefer fairness, I want level playing fields, I want everyone to have a chance. One of the reasons I really like the BAFE scheme is it is one scheme but there are six providers, if you don’t like your BAFE provider then go to another one. You’ll still be getting the same product. Like, if you don’t like one supermarket then go to another one, they all sell milk.
What would you tell yourself at the age of 21?
Don’t drink cheap whiskey.
What motivates you?
Helping people. It’s one of the things that I love about the stuff we produce and the work we do, is all based around helping people. I’ve always said that we’re a trade association and trade associations are there to help people therefore, we are here to help. We’re not here to make a huge amount of money, we’re here to help, profit is not a motivation. We as the FIA and everyone involved with the FIA want to help so, how can we help? Helping people is nice.
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
I’d still like to be working for the FIA.
Why is the FIA important to you and the industry?
It’s one voice and one point of contact. Since the pandemic, I’ve talked more to government departments than at any time since and the government’s awareness of the FIA is probably down to our CEO Ian Moore doing a really good job. But, because governments like to talk to one group rather than trying to talk to everyone, the Home Office and MACLG and DLUHC as it is now, they’ll talk to us and we’re there to represent the industry, which we do. We try and get the best and explain how things work in the real world, so that’s why we’re important because we’re a point of contact and we’re an easy point of contact for government to talk to, we’re there to represent what the industry wants and the industry knows we’re the experts.
Can you listen to us? Yes, because we’re the experts.
What do you want to say to the readers?
Become a member of the FIA if you aren’t already
One of the best things about trade associations is the more you put into a trade association the more you get out of it. The more you’re with our councils, our working groups and interacting with everything that the FIA does such as CPD certification centre, the more you get out of it, the more you’ll improve your business as well as the industry. That’s all we’re about.
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