Bylaws of the International Forum of Fire Research Directors

Purpose

The International FORUM of Fire Research Directors (FORUM) is a group of the directors of fire research organizations throughout the world. Its aim is to reduce the burden of fire (including the loss of life and property, and effects of fire on the environment and heritage) through international cooperation on fire research.  The focus is identifying strategic partnerships to advance Fire Safety Engineering, FSE, through scientifically-based knowledge of fire; validated computational tools; sound and reliable supporting data; and recognized professional status for the discipline of FSE with appropriate training and education. The research of FORUM members supports advances in all aspects of FSE with the intent of influencing national and international standard setting authorities and improving society's ability to reduce and manage the risks of fire and the costs of fire safety.  

The FORUM role includes identification of strategies for advancing fire research; networking and sharing of information among FORUM members to achieve common objectives and reduce duplication; discussion of strategies for fire research and fire safety engineering including coordination of fire research, joint programs, exchanges of staff, and shared use of resources. In the foregoing the FORUM maintains close contact with related organizations; e.g., the International Council for Building Research Studies (CIB), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Association of Fire Safety Sciences (IAFSS); and the Society of Fire Protection Engineering (SFPE). FORUM members and their staff are active participants in these organizations' activities.
Activities and Products

The FORUM regularly discusses priority fire research needs and important issues within the member's countries. It periodically publishes and makes available on its website position papers on issues of international interest, and a compendium of information on available fire models. FORUM research is accessible directly from member laboratories or through the FORUM website. Several international databases of fire research information and results are maintained by FORUM members. The FORUM meets annually at the facilities of one of its members, rotating among the major geographic regions represented by its membership: Europe, Asia-Pacific, and North America. In conjunction with these meetings, it may co-sponsor an open symposium or conference, arranged by the host member, to examine progress of fire safety engineering in the host's country in the context of international developments in this field.

The FORUM sponsors an international award, the Sjölin Award which recognizes an outstanding contribution to the science or practice of fire safety engineering. It is presented to the individual or group whose efforts are primarily responsible for or traceable to the specified advance. Each award consists of a plaque and an honorarium. Additional awards may be given as warranted.

Membership

Membership of the FORUM is available to fire research organizations (principally those holding national status) which are undertaking major research in support of fire safety. FORUM member representatives are expected to be the following:

Membership applications, which can be obtained from the website, should be completed and submitted to the Secretary.

In addition to the voting representatives, who are the directors of the member organizations, non-voting representatives of the member organizations and other international bodies participate in FORUM activities as deemed appropriate by the voting representatives. These non-voting representatives include, e.g., technical experts, translators, and liaisons with ISO, CIB, SFPE, and IAFSS. Note that membership status is changed to "non-voting" if a member misses three consecutive meetings. Full voting status can be returned to a member through petition in person at a subsequent annual meeting.

Membership Fees

Fees are collected annually from the FORUM member organizations to cover awards and operation expenses. The current fee schedule is provided in the application form.

The commitment of a member organization's funds to a project, over and above the annual membership fee, is at the sole discretion of the member organization, and the funds are normally limited to cover the individual organization's expenses associated with the project.

Administrative Organization

Officers

The FORUM is run by and for its members on a voluntary basis. There are no permanent officers or salaried staff. Operation of the organization is carried out through a Chair, Deputy Chair, and Secretary/Treasurer.

Chair -- The Chair of the FORUM runs the annual meeting and is responsible for leading and speaking for the organization. Duties include setting the meeting agenda, coordinating with the host organization for upcoming meetings, appointing working groups, and representing the membership in discussions with and presentations to other international organizations on technical and other issues related to fire safety research. Any voting member can be Chair or can nominate a candidate for Chair. The term is for three years, and ends at the conclusion of the third annual meeting. The Chair may succeed himself/herself for a second term.

Deputy Chair -- The Deputy Chair is normally elected at the same time as the Chair and serves the same term. If the Deputy Chair cannot serve a full term, the Chair appoints a replacement for the balance of the term. She/he takes on the duties of and responsibilities for the Chair when unavailable. The Deputy Chair is also responsible to ensure that the web site is up to date.

Secretary/Treasurer -- The Secretary/Treasurer ensures a smooth flow of information among the membership. She/he records the minutes of the annual meetings and takes notice, in particular, of action items and responsibilities. She/he, keeps track of finances and is responsible for the collection of the membership fees. The Secretary/Treasurer is appointed by the Chair, and may be a voting or non-voting representative of one of the member organizations.

Rules of Order

Annual meetings of the FORUM are conducted by the Chair, following generally accepted meeting rules for recognizing members to speak and for bringing forward business items, such as Roberts Rules of Order. A quorum exists when at least 50% of the voting members are present, with a minimum of two from each of the major geographic areas: Europe, North America, and Asia/Pacific.

The intent of the meeting rules is to promote free and open discussion among the members, and to guide the organization to timely decisions on business matters, including amendment of these bylaws. These decisions are made by a 2/3 majority of the voting members present at the meeting, with the exception of the election of the Chair and Deputy Chair. Election of these officers requires a response from at least 50% of the members to a ballot distributed to all voting members.
A nomination committee is formed at the meeting one year before the three-year term of the officers ends. The nomination committee shall consist of three voting members, preferably one member from each geographic region. The nominating committee solicits nominations from the members and proposes at least one candidate for the positions of Chair and Deputy Chair. A ballot is distributed to the voting membership three months after the committee is formed. The ballot shall have a space for a write-in in addition to the names of the nominated individuals for each position.  Ballots must be returned within three months of their distribution. Election is by a 2/3 majority of the responses returned to the Secretary/Treasurer. In the absence of a 2/3 majority in the ballots, the election for these two position is decided by a 2/3 majority of the voting members present at the annual meeting.