Balancing safety with sustainability

Sustainability is a major focus of government, business, and the community at the moment, and fire protection is no exception.

Issues ranging from the contamination of the water table with PFAS foam to the recyclability of fire extinguisher powders have raised questions about how we can minimise the footprint of the industry.

But there is another side to the debate – SHOULD we take action on sustainability if it risks increasing the danger of an unchecked fire?

In other words, how do you balance safety and sustainability – where should the line be drawn?

And are current regulations and standards hampering efforts to make fire safety practices more sensitive and protective of the environment?

In this session our panel will examine the issues around sustainability and attempt to strike a reasonable balance between protecting people, property, and the environment.

Allen (2)

Allen Mitchell

State Manager - QLD, FPA Australia

  • FPAA State Manager – QLD
  • CEO of the Insulated Panel Council Australasia
  • worked Nationally and Internationally in the manufacturing for over 30 years
  • worked in all size businesses and industries, in various senior positions
Michael Wood

Michael Wood

Company Secretary, Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA)

Michael has a Bachelor of Commerce and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Science Horticulture and has worked in the organic recycling sector and container nursery production for over 30 years in Marketing, General Management and Director roles.

Michael provides consulting services to a range of clients in organic recycling through his Consultancy business Oakwood Consultants Pty Ltd the fields of strategic planning, marketing, technical and quality systems, environmental management, compliance and general management issues. Michael also provides agronomic advice on compost and recycled organics use in client soil health programs to horticultural clients.

Michael led the formation AORA in Victoria and the transition of the former Compost Vic group into AORA Victoria. Michael spent ten years as with Enviromix Pty Ltd as a Director and GM composting municipal organics and made a key contribution to the development of its subsidiary Biomix Pty Ltd in Stanhope. He has worked extensively in market development for compost and mulch through his horticultural background.


Michael currently consults to Sacyr Environment Australia at their new 120,000 tonne in- vessel facility in Dandenong South and Chairs Camperdown Compost Company’s Advisory Board.

FPAAAwards-335 (2)

Brett Staines

Consultant, Special Hazards Fire Protection

Brett Staines is a self-employed Special Hazards Fire Protection consultant.  He has an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering and a strong background in Special Hazards Fire Protection having been involved in the fire protection industry in a variety of roles for 30 years.   Brett’s career has included fire incident command, system testing and design, product development, application engineering, training, project management and participation in FPA Australia, Standards Australia and ISO technical committees.

He was awarded the A.V. Viscogliosi Award for “Excellence and Outstanding Service to Fire Protection” in 2009 and the Barry Lee Award for “Technical Excellence” in 2018.

Simon Barrat

Simon Barratt

Foam Product Manager, Viking Group

Simon Barratt is the Foam Product Manager for Viking EMEA and is currently living in the United Kingdom.

Educated in Business and Finance with over 27 years of Fire Protection experience.

Simon began his career at Sprinkler manufacturer, Central Spraysafe where he worked on internal sales and distribution for the EMEA and APAC regions.

He joined Viking’s UK organisation in 1999 with 2 years as external Sales Representative followed by 12 years as Regional Sales Manager, which, in addition to the usual commercial responsibilities, encompassed marketing and technical support for the UK and Ireland territories also.

Simon moved to his current role of Foam Product Manager in 2013 and is responsible for the internal organization of sales, marketing, technical support, R&D and certification of Viking’s expanding line of fixed fire protection Foam Products.

Current and past experiences related specifically to Foam Products within Viking;

  • Responsible for global R&D activities related to fixed foam system hardware.
  • Frequently working with core foam tests standards such as FM5130, UL162 and EN13565-1
  • Participation in NFPA11 and NFPA409 committees.
  • Responsible for technical writing and documentation for the foam product line globally.
  • Director of Viking’s foam hardware manufacturing division in Italy.
  • Experience and involvement in the test approval process involving foam qualities, fire tests and proportioning for example.
  • Part of the foam technical support team.
  • Lead member of the SFFF transition team.
  • Responsible for setting our procedures and policies for on-site commissioning, maintenance and troubleshooting activities.
  • Own experience of on-site activities such as proportioning systems, foam sampling and water/foam cannons (monitors).
  • Responsible for new product launches and training.
  • Due to previous Viking positions, deep understanding of wet sprinkler, deluge, preaction and flow control systems that foam hardware is integrated into.