PSI MAGAZINE COLUMN: JULY 2014

This month Simon Banks talks to Damian Parker, Regional Operations Manager for Protec Fire Detection PLC, the largest privately owned Fire Detection & Security Company in the UK.

This month Simon Banks talks to Damian Parker, Regional Operations Manager for Protec Fire Detection PLC, the largest privately owned Fire Detection & Security Company in the UK.

Many fires start in unoccupied buildings, why are only 5% of fire systems remotely monitored?

The majority of clients are unaware of business continuity risks and view their fire alarm system as a Health and Safety tool. A large cross section of small commercial and retail businesses would not be able to continue trading after a significant fire. Minimising the risk with low cost monitoring has created a substantial increase in new connections. Little expense for peace of mind!

There is currently tougher legislation for security than fire, do you see this changing?

Obviously life safety should be treated with higher regard than property protection. Approved third party audit schemes such as the NSI fire scheme help by ensuring understanding and compliance at all stages of the project. Enforcement of the fire regulatory reform order is key and fire alarm companies can also help by ensuring that clients receive a fully certificated fire alarm system with the correct level of building protection. Fire systems have improved significantly over the years, but correct design and implementation will always be of paramount importance.

Nearly 50 years of business is quite an achievement. What specific areas do you attribute to the success of Protec Fire and Security?

Customer communication and support, efficiently controlled company expansion and in-house product innovation and development have been crucial. These elements have been complemented by continuity of directors and loyal staff. We have also diversified into Security and Public Address systems. We are genuinely interested in learning new technologies and can only grow by continuing to deliver a good service for our loyal and supportive customer base.

As an advocate of Apprenticeships in the fire and security industry, what are the main benefits?

I joined Protec as an installation engineer at 21 years old and I believe it is essential to combine both the practical and theoretical elements to provide balanced learning for the apprentice. We have recently put 16 employees through a 2 year City & Guilds Fire and Security course at Burnley College. The group was a mixture of younger trainee staff and mature learners who had been with the business for many years and wanted to expand their knowledge. The process is already underway to place this year's new starters. It is important to give the apprentice a medium and long term career path to keep that knowledge base within the company and to build on their personal successes and development.

In your role as Regional Technical Chairman for NSI, how important is it for NSI Installers to engage with regional meetings and share common interests?

I think it is essential for NSI member companies to attend the regional meetings. So much can be learned especially concerning your routine audit inspections. Industry and ACPO standards updates are explained and presented in a relaxed manner allowing questions to be raised and any concerns debated. Receiving technical bulletins from NSI for distribution throughout your team is useful but the meetings offer the very earliest warning of any potential threats.

You Said It! 

“Had a @CSLDualCom engineer out today. Super helpful and very polite. Top service thank you.”

Tweeted by @GES_Alarms · Jun 3

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