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Dear IAFSS Member,
I trust you are doing well. I am writing with information about the 2021 IAFSS General Meeting, Part 2, which will be held on 30 April 2021, 13:00 UTC. The draft agenda for the meeting can be found here.
First, thank you to those who were able to join us on 24 March 2021 for Part 1 of the 2021 IAFSS General Meeting (GM). This was our first ever virtual GM, and although we had a few minor glitches, the meeting went well. The draft minutes for the GM Part 1 are attached to the draft agenda for the GM Part 2. As you will see, the proposed amendments to the Rules of the Association were approved, which formally allows us to proceed with a virtual GM Part 2. Click here to view the Rules of the Association.
As previously noted, we are changing the procedures for the GM Part 2, taking into account lessons learned and experiences gained from the GM Part 1, and aiming for a more interactive meeting.
- To limit the potential for non-members to join the meeting, all eligible members will be required to pre-register to attend the meeting. You will need to contact the Secretariat to pre-register. Upon verification of eligibility, you will be sent a meeting link and password.
- To assist us in checking attendees against our membership list, when logging into the meeting, please enter using your name in English as it correlates to your membership application.
- Since the meeting time is limited, please try to log in five (5) minutes prior to the start of the GM. Please check your hardware and connections prior to the meeting time.
- As with the GM Part 1, we are aiming to have any action required for voting to be presented in a form that votes can be simple ‘approve / disapprove / abstain’ where possible. This is largely driven by the limited time for discussion and the time allotted for the meeting.
- In the case where there is a vote that requires a choice between options (for example, if there are three candidates for Scrutineer and only two positions available), each option will be voted on separately, and the options receiving the highest vote counts will be taken as approved.
- Details of actions requiring votes, as initiated by the Committee, will be posted to the IAFSS website by 17 April for review, and as appropriate, to allow time to submit proxy votes by members who cannot attend the 30 April meeting. It is expected that this will include:
- Approval of past minutes of General Meetings of the Association (14 June 2017 and 24 March 2021)
- Approval of the Treasurer’s report
- Nominees for Honorary Auditors of the Association (two positions)
- Nominees for Scrutineers of the Association (two positions)
- Because time for discussion in the virtual GM Part 2 will be limited, any member who nominates members for the position of Honorary Auditor or Scrutineer, or proposes any action that will require a vote, or wishes to raise an item for discussion under Any Other Business, must provide text of the item in writing to the Honorary Secretary no later than 13 April 2021. This is to allow time for review, confirmation, and posting of the item by 17 April, and if needed, time to permit submittal of proxy votes by members who cannot attend.
- Due to time limitations, a maximum of five (5) minutes will be allotted for questions / discussion on any agenda item.
- Proxy voting forms, for those unable to attend, will be available on 17 April, once items for voting have been identified and confirmed. Note that it is intended to simplify the proxy form such that proxy votes will be given to the Honorary Secretary, unless another person is specifically designated. If another person is designated, confirmation is required from the designee, in advance of the GM, that they (a) agree to serve as proxy and (b) confirm that they will be in attendance at the meeting. This is to help assure that the proxy vote will be delivered and counted appropriately.
As a member, your participation in General Meetings and your vote on issues of importance to the Association is critically important. We ask that all who can attend and participate do so. For those unable to attend, and who would like to exercise their right to vote, you are asked to provide your proxy vote to the Honorary Secretary no later than 27 April.
Also, we appreciate that options for voting and discussion remain somewhat limited. However, we have presented a more flexible and participative arrangement for Part 2 of the GM, within the limitations of time and technology being used. Developing a more robust on-line GM approach for future meetings will be an action on the Committee going forward.
Again, thank you for your understanding and flexibility, and if you have questions for clarification, or comments on what has been proposed, please let me know. Thank you.
IAFSS Honorary Secretary ad interim
Please download the Frequently Asked Questions document regarding the IAFSS 2021 General Meeting here
Dear IAFSS Member,
I trust you are doing well, and are looking forward to participating in the first-ever virtual IAFSS International Symposium on Fire Safety Science, to be held 26-30 April 2021 (with workshops the week before!). This is the IAFSS flagship event, and we look forward to you joining us for a week of highly informative presentations and interactions with your peers around the world.
As you know, associated with the Symposium is the General Meeting of the Association. In this time of COVID-19, we need to hold this virtually as well. However, our Rules of the Association do not specifically allow for virtual meetings, so we are asking for your flexibility and participation in holding the 2021 General Meeting virtually in two parts – Part 1 to be 24 March, and Part 2 to be 30 April.
The rationale for holding the meetings in two parts is as follows. First, the Rules do not specifically allow for virtual meetings or electronic (virtual) voting at meetings. While the Committee has the ability to take action not specifically identified in the Rules (Article 14 (viii)), it does not have the authority to formalize a Rule change without vote of the membership. Second, as per the Rules, the General Meeting is used to announce the new Committee (members of the new Committee have been selected through elections in Fall 2020). It is necessary to both (a) allow virtual General Meetings and voting, and (2) announce the new Committee to allow for the change in leadership, in a reasonable and transparent manner.
To address this, Part 1 of the General Meeting is to be rather brief, having just four primary actions: (1) introduction of the new Committee, (2) vote on a proposed amendment to the Rules to allow for virtual / hybrid General Meetings, (3) vote on a proposed amendment to the Rules to allow virtual voting at the virtual General Meeting, and (4) vote on timing for the General Meeting, Part 2 (the choice of the timing of a meeting is difficult because of our geographical diversity). This will allow membership to confirm, if they so choose, that we can operate in this manner. This meeting will be held on 24 March 2021. The meeting platform will be Zoom. The timing of the meeting is 06:00 PDT (west coast USA), selected to align with preferred time slots already identified by the Symposium organizers.
Given that we are simply seeking approval of the proposed amendments, it is planned to have a simple ‘approve / disapprove’ vote on these items. We appreciate that ideally, we need to find a mechanism that allows for discussion on proposed amendments (and other items). We expect to have this in place for Part 2 of the General Meeting, which is why all other actions are moved to that part of the meeting. Also, we appreciate that the timing of the General Meeting Part 1 is not good for the Asia-Oceania region. We apologize. However, there is no single one- or two-hour time period that works well across all time zones, so we have limited options. For this reason, we will have a vote during the General Meeting, Part 1, on the timing for the General Meeting, Part 2, with the aim to pick a time that is more convenient to our members who are negatively affected by the choice of the timing of the General Meeting, Part 1. In addition, Article 5 of the Rules of the Association states in part that “A Member whose subscription is paid up to date and current shall be entitled to… attend whether in person or by proxy and vote at all meetings of the Members of the Association.” To provide a mechanism for those unable to attend Part 1 of the General Meeting on 24 March, they have the option to provide their vote via proxy in writing (email acceptable) to the Honorary Secretary no later than 23 March.
Please click here to download the draft Agenda for Part 1 of the General Meeting. The proposed amendments to the Rules, to facilitate holding virtual General Meetings and voting there at, are also included as Annex 1. We provide this in advance for your review and consideration. The draft agenda for the General Meeting, Part 2, is included as Annex 2.
As a member, your participation in General Meetings and your vote on issues of importance to the Association, such as amendments to the Rules, is critically important. We ask that all who can attend and participate do so. For those unable to attend, and who would like to exercise their right to vote on the amendments, you are asked to provide your proxy vote to the Honorary Secretary no later than 23 March. Also, we appreciate that options for voting and discussion for Part 1 of the General Meeting will be limited, and that this cannot be the norm. We ask that you accept this limitation for this meeting, while we work out a more flexible and participative arrangement for Part 2 of the General Meeting. However, if you have questions for clarification, or comments on what has been proposed, please let me know. Thank you.
IAFSS Honorary Secretary
The IAFSS Committee welcome bids for the 15th IAFSS Symposium, to be held in Europe in 2026.
Selection of the host for the symposium will be made by the new Management Committee at its April meeting, which will be associated with the virtual 13th IAFSS Symposium organized and hosted by the University of Waterloo. An exact date will be defined and communicated by those sending in a bid.
If you are interested in hosting the 15th IAFSS Symposium please click here for further information.