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 took place in Hall 5 of the NEC, Birmingham from 20–21 September 2017 attracted 7,599 visitors and buyers, representing an 8% increase on 2016. The increase in visitors from the police (up 130%) and prison service(up 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 exhibitor and visitor feedback. Roger Startin, Joint Managing Director, Bristol Uniforms Ltd, said, ‘The visitors to the exhibition are always the people who actually make decisions and find out information about the products we have to offer, so the visitor profile for us is perfect.’
Mark Stower, Acting Head of Procurement and Logistics, Yorkshire Ambulance Service who attended as a visitor said, ‘It’s 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 are 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 into 14 countries, met buyers from Denmark, Germany, and Iceland within three and a half hours of the 2017 show opening. ‘We are primarily here to reach out to overseas visitors and these are exactly the kind of people we need to see,’ said Managing Director, Mark Keogh.
Now in its 12th year, ESS offered more learning and training opportunities than ever before with a new Extrication and First Aid & Trauma Challenges hosted by West Midlands Fire Service and UKRO, and 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 Wellbeing seminar theatre, visitors heard personal stories from colleagues who have experienced mental health challenges, and from organisations who are implementing change and offering support.
The charity PTSD999 presented one of the seminars 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 they had been approached by men and women who were 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 to us as an organisation and helped us no end. This show has absolutely, without question, 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, the petition to impose tougher sentences on those who assault emergency services workers had received 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, and the charity behind them gained a new trustee as a direct result of exhibiting. NESM founder and chair, Tom Scholes-Fogg, said, ‘This was our first time at The Emergency Services Show and we will certainly be coming back. We are very impressed. The emergency services who are represented here are second-to-none and we have 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, Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service said, ‘It has been manic, we have been so busy. It is a must-attend: there is so much here for everybody, for all departments, and such a great networking opportunity. I have made so many contacts over the two days.’
Simon Hardiman, Group Commander, West Midlands Fire Service agreed: ‘It’s been a fantastic couple of days and is really good to engage with other providers and other rescue services. It’s a great opportunity to see what other services are providing. Integration with the other services is the real key for us.’
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.
New exhibitor UCLan Protect said the show had given them great exposure: ‘We will certainly be exhibiting next year. Both days have been really busy for us. We have had some extremely beneficial meetings and excellent support from the show organisers,’ said Paul Briggs, Business & Technical Development Consultant to University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).