Speakers at High Rise Firefighting Conference

Taking place on Wednesday, 7 October 2020, High Rise Firefighting Conference welcomes firefighters from around the World to discuss High Rise Firefighting Techniques and Best Practice.

Enjoy timely and relevant content delivered by high-level speakers, with a chance to quiz them on their knowledge and opinions with the digital platform’s Q&A feature.


Roy Wilsher


Roy was appointed as the first Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) in April 2017. In his role as Chair, Roy represents the NFCC in national and international forums. He provides guidance and support to Officers and Fire and Rescue Services all over the United Kingdom. Roy also represents Fire and Rescue in a range of government and sector forums and is the first line of advice to Ministers during major incidents.

Roy’s career in the Fire Service has spanned some 35 years. Roy joined London Fire Brigade in 1981 rising to Assistant Commissioner for Community Fire Safety. In 1996 Roy achieved a 1st Class B.Eng(Hons) Fire Safety Engineering. In 1998 Roy became Senior Divisional Fire Safety Officer, responsible for 11 boroughs in North and West London. In 2000 he became a Chartered Engineer. Roy joined Hertfordshire in 2004 and was appointed Chief Fire Officer in 2005 and Director for Community Protection and Chief Fire Officer in 2011. From 2013- 2017 Roy was the Chief Executive for the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner. 


Prof. Dr. -ING. Michael Reick

Michael is a regional fire chief in Göppingen, Germany. With his background as a former head of a fire testing institute and work experience in fire safety engineering his topic is the connection between these disciplines and operational firefighting. He worked in numerous research projects regarding smoke spread control in building fires with the aim to enable firefighters to avoid smoke spread into egress routes and to positively influence fire dynamics. He developed the portable smoke blocking device (smoke stopper) which is widely used by fire services around the world.

Presentation: Smoke spread control with SmokeStoppers – a mandatory task for the fire service

Portable smoke blocking devices have been used by fire services around the world in thousands of real incidents and saved many lives – civilians and firefighters. The theory behind it and lessons learned from real fireground experience are presented in this presentation.

Mark Hardingham

QFSM, Chief Fire Officer, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service Fire and Public Safety, Suffolk County Council

Mark began his fire service career 30 years ago in Essex, transferring to Suffolk in 2010 where he was appointed Chief Fire Officer in 2013. Within the County Council and alongside his CFO role he has held a broad range of responsibilities including Highways, Passenger Transport, Emergency Planning, Trading Standards, Community Safety and Health & Safety.

Mark has been the Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council Protection & Business Safety Committee since 2017, chairs the County Council Chief Fire Officer’s Group and has led several FRS Peer Challenges.

On a personal level, Mark is married to Vickie and they have two boys aged 19 and 22. He is a frustrated West Ham fan, even more frustrated golfer and a keen watcher of most sports.

Brent Brooks

Brent is currently a Captain with Toronto Fire Services. His 24 year career with firefighting started at Pearson Airport, with continuing duties at (De Havilland) and Bombardier Aero Space Crash Fire Rescue teams. He is assigned to Toronto’s High Rise Unit and CBRNE team. Brent has developed the IMS, training and RND for High Rise Operations. Brent’s experience includes serving on numerous committees all related to High Rise Firefighting. He continues to travel North America attending conferences, symposiums, and hands on training pertaining to High Rise Firefighting. He has spoken on complex building systems and attends the Council of tall buildings when it is in Toronto. Brent shares information with Fire Departments from all over the world and has developed a network with firefighters related to High Rise Firefighting.

Mark Reilly

Mark Reilly has over 35 years’ experience in crisis and emergency management working in public sector and private industry as a consultant and as a fire commander in both major metropolitan and regional fire commands. More recently he was the manager of structural fire safety in Australia’s largest fire and rescue service. He has managed a number of multidisciplinary teams supporting Major Infrastructure Projects, Fire Safety Studies, Major Hazard Facilities, Fire Safety Inspections and supported the NSW Cladding Task Force.

Mark has extensive experience and expertise in governance and is a non-executive Director on three boards, one of which, Upstream Energy provides solar powered alternate energy source opportunities for remote installations in regional Australia.

Mark has degrees in Public Sector Management, Applied Management, Emergency Management, Fire Engineering and Executive Leadership. Mark also holds qualifications in Work Health and Safety and Risk Management.

Mark is a Companion Member of the Institution of Fire Engineers and has been active on State, National and International boards and committees for over 25 years.

Sean Decrane

Sean DeCrane retired as a 25+ year veteran of the Cleveland Division of Fire. He served in various roles including the Director of Training and Chief of Operations retiring as a Battalion Chief. Sean is currently the Manager of Industry Relations for the Underwriters Laboratories Building Life Safety, Security and Technologies Division.

Sean has been involved in the research at Underwriters Laboratories and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He served on the UL Fire Council and is a member of the UL Fire Fighter Safety Research Institute’s Advisory Board.

Chief DeCrane also represented the International Association of Fire Fighters in the International Code Council process and has served on the 2009, 2012, 2105 and 2018 Fire Code Developing Committee and as Chair for 2015 and 2018. Sean served on the NFPA 1 Technical Advisory Panel, NFPA Research Foundation on Tall Wood Buildings and is serving as the Chair of the Fire Test Work Group for the ICC Tall Wood Building Ad Hoc Committee.

Adam Course

Adam Course has been at Avon Fire and Rescue Service for 12 years and has spent many years studying firefighter fatality incidents, serious accidents and where possible near misses.

Since June 2016 Adam has been on a secondment to the IFE and National Operational Guidance/National Operational Learning (NOG/NOL). The IFE Firefighter Safety Database which forms a web-based information/learning database where all available UK firefighter fatality and firefighter near miss information can be accessed, shared and learnt from by interested parties. The Firefighter Safety Database is designed to be a one stop shop for information.

Phase 2 of this project is expanding to an international scale project run by the IFE. Each country would have its own section of the site to highlight the same firefighter safety events. Phase 3 of the project will enable any incident of interest (high rise/tall building fires, wildfires, historic fires, nightclub fires, commercial fires, informal settlement fires, industrial, transport related incidents, HAZMAT etc), not directly linked to firefighter safety, but often with overlapping themes, where mainly multi fatality and/or near multi fatality incident information can be accessed in one place. 

Chris Lowther

Chris started his career as an operational firefighter based at Gateshead Community Fire Station in 1997.

He was appointed Chief Fire Officer in February 2017, taking up the post in April 2017. Chris has held a number of roles within the fire service, including Station Officer for community safety, during which time he was instrumental in

introducing home safety checks which have significantly reduced fires in the home.

After joining the Strategic Management Team in 2009, Chis worked as an Area Manager and then in 2013 was appointed Assistant Chief Officer, assuming overall responsibility for services across five districts, operations, community safety and fire safety.

Chris chairs the National Fire Chiefs Committee (NFCC), Operational Coordination Committee (OCC), the lead body for Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) and sits on a number of NFCC groups including the NFCC Steering and NFCC Community Risk Programme. Chris was also the project executive for the national guidance work on transport.

He led the introduction of Targeted Response Vehicles (TRVs), day crewing close-call shift patterns, Cobra Coldcut technology and more efficient methods of staffing appliances while facilitating first-class firefighter training.

Policy and collaboration are integral to Chris’s current role and will continue to be a focus going forward. He works collaboratively with Northumbria Police and other key partners, and the implementation of the Integrated Risk Management Plan is an important part of his remit.

Under his leadership, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service will focus on workforce reform and broadening and strengthening our contribution to our community.

Barry Moore

Barry Moore is a Group Manager with Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service and is currently the Operational Training Manager. He has worked for the Service for 27 years spending the first 17 years on operational fire appliances where he moved through the ranks to Watch Manager. He has been part of the senior team within Merseyside for the past 10 years and in this time has created and developed the Operational Assurance Team and managed a number of Fire Stations in relation to operational performance and service delivery. Prior to moving into Operational Training at the start of this year, Barry had spent the previous 3 years with the responsibility for Health & Safety. Barry also led the High Rise review within Merseyside following the Coroner’s report from the Shirley Towers incident in Hampshire.