The UK’s largest event for the Emergency Services – The Emergency Services Show (ESS) – has reported record growth for 2017. The free-to-attend event, which ran in Hall 5 of the NEC in Birmingham from 20-21 September, attracted 7,599 visitors and buyers. This represents an 8% increase on 2016. The increase in visitors from the police service (up 130%) and the prison service (up by 30%) was particularly significant. Government visitors were up by 16% and there was a 12% increase in visitors from the Fire and Rescue Service.
Registration data also revealed there was a 19% increase in visitors with procurement roles, a fact reinforced by both exhibitor and visitor feedback. Roger Startin, joint managing director at Bristol Uniforms Ltd, said: “The visitors to this exhibition are always the people who actually make decisions and want to find out information about the products we have to offer. For us, the visitor profile is perfect.”
Mark Stower, acting head of procurement and logistics for the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, attended as a visitor. “It has been a really good networking opportunity and I’ve met some really useful people that I can link in with and start doing some good collaborative work with, which is absolutely what we’re all about right now: trying to work together to deliver savings and ultimately a better patient offering.”
WASP Rescue, which enjoyed a successful launch at ESS 2016 and has now sold its solutions into 14 countries, met with buyers from Denmark, Germany and Iceland within three and a half hours of the 2017 show opening. “In the main, we attended the event in order to reach out to overseas visitors who are exactly the kind of people we need to see,” explained managing director Mark Keogh.
Learning and training opportunities
Now in its twelfth year, ESS offered more learning and training opportunities than ever before with a new Extrication and First Aid and Trauma Challenges Zone hosted by the West Midlands Fire Service and UKRO, as well as Continuing Professional Development (CPD) accreditation across every seminar programme.
There was also a particular focus on supporting individuals who work in demanding and challenging emergency response roles. In the new Health and Well-Being Seminar Theatre, visitors heard personal stories from colleagues who’ve experienced mental health challenges, and also anecdotes from organisations who are implementing change and offering support.
The charity PTSD999 made a presentation and was one of the 80 organisations and voluntary groups who were given complimentary stands in The Collaboration Zone. Simon Durance, co-founder of PTSD999, said that during the exhibition the organisation had been approached by men and women struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD999 was able to assist them in accessing vital diagnosis and treatment.
“Being at the show has made a huge impact on us as an organisation and helped us no end,” observed Durance. “Without question, this show has absolutely saved lives within the Emergency Services.”
Elsewhere in The Collaboration Zone, the Police Federation of England of Wales launched an online petition to support all Emergency Services workers as part of its ‘Protect the Protectors’ campaign. Within 24 hours of ESS 2017 opening its doors, the petition to impose tougher sentences on those who assault Emergency Services workers had gained more than 3,500 signatures.
The National Emergency Services Day Memorial (NESM) and Official Emergency Services Day campaign, backed by the Prime Minister Theresa May, were also launched at the show, while the charity behind them gained a new trustee as a direct result of exhibiting at the NEC.
Tom Scholes-Fogg, the NESM’s founder and chairman, explained: “This was our first time at The Emergency Services Show and we will certainly be coming back. We’re very impressed. The Emergency Services who are represented here are second-to-none, and we’ve made some incredibly useful contacts.”
The Collaboration Zone is very much the networking hub of ESS where blue light services spend valuable time learning from each other and sharing resources. Paul Speight, Watch Manager at the Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service, said: “It has been manic. We’ve been so busy. There’s so much here for everybody and for all departments. The show represents a great networking opportunity. I’ve made so many contacts over the two days.”
Simon Hardiman, Group Commander for the West Midlands Fire Service, agreed. “It has been a fantastic couple of days. It’s really good to engage with other colleagues and a great opportunity to see what other Fire and Rescue Services are providing.”
This year, the indoor and outdoor exhibition featured over 450 exhibiting companies including leading names in firefighting equipment, search and rescue, extrication, first response, communications, IT, protective clothing and uniforms, vehicles and fleet, vehicle equipment, outsourcing, training, community safety, station facilities, water rescue and medical supplies.
“We will certainly be exhibiting next year,” said Paul Briggs, business and technical development consultant to the University of Central Lancashire. “Both days of the show have been really busy for us. We’ve had some extremely beneficial meetings and excellent support from Broden Media, the show’s organiser.”
*The Emergency Services Show returns to Hall 5 at the NEC in Birmingham on 19-20 September 2018. For further information access www.emergencyuk.com