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Meet Dan Denton, UK National Accounts Manager at Pyroguard

Having been at Pyroguard for the last three years, Dan is well-known in our independent partner network and by our timber door and joinery company customers, as well as being recognised more widely within the fire safety industry for his ongoing commitment as a retained firefighter.

Read on to learn more about his role here at Pyroguard and how he feels the fire safety industry has evolved in recent years.

As a UK National Accounts Manager, what does your role involve?

I am predominantly focused on Pyroguard’s Distribution Network here in the UK. This means that I work mainly with our independent partners, distributors and stockists, providing them with pricing, technical and certification support, as well as product training; enabling them to then pass on this same service and duty of care to their own customer base. I also frequently work with timber door and joinery companies, providing them with solutions and technical support to allow them to safely and correctly glaze their fire door sets with our Pyroguard products; as well as enabling them to increase their coverage of fire-rated glazing applications through internal testing programmes.

In addition to all of this, I also help to deliver our fire safety glass CPD to customers, architects, specifiers and other industry professionals – so, I’m definitely kept nice and busy!

Having been at Pyroguard for the last three years, what are some of your highlights? And what keeps you motivated?

I’d definitely say that one of my ongoing highlights, and something that provides me with a great deal of job satisfaction, is having a key role in promoting the importance of fire safety glass to our customers and other industry professionals. It’s really vital for installers and contractors to understand that, ultimately, fire safety products and the creation of fire compartments within buildings are there to save lives – and our CPD and product training is just one way of raising awareness of this.

Our CPD programme in particular is proving incredibly popular, which is great to see. I think that this is a really positive sign and perhaps reflective of people’s attitudes slowly changing towards fire safety, developing a genuine interest in becoming more knowledgeable and informed on fire safety systems.

While there have been some positive steps forward regarding attitudes towards fire safety, both in construction and within society as a whole, there is still a lot of educating to do. It is perhaps this need, more than anything that motivates me on a daily basis.

In addition to technical specification and aesthetics, safety is of utmost importance at Pyroguard. How do you view Pyroguard’s role within the fire safety industry?

Of course, as a manufacturer and provider of fire safety glass, we have a clear duty of care to our customers. I see what we offer at Pyroguard to be an invaluable resource for new building and refurbishment projects, with a vast array of knowledge and product solutions to meet almost any fire-rated glazing application.

However, I feel that our role also goes beyond this. Being independent, Pyroguard is in a great position to roll out this training and support to people throughout the industry, including installers, contractors and architects. Through our product training and CPD programme, there is the potential for us to have a big impact in educating the industry as a whole, filtering through from the top to the bottom of the construction supply chain.

Pyroguard is also currently supporting my study for the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS) qualification – representing a further investment in a key area of the fire safety sector.

As a retained firefighter, how has this affected your view of the industry?

Having been a retained firefighter for the last three years, I think it’s provided me with an interesting ‘inside view’ of the fire safety sector. Throughout that time, I’ve seen first-hand the catastrophic impact that fire can have on both commercial and domestic property. However, more positively, I’ve also seen how a correctly specified and installed fire safety system performs in the event of a fire and how it can help to contain it, preventing the spread. In turn, this means that there is less risk for loss of life and also provides damage limitation to the property, meaning a safe ingress and egress for fire service personnel.

Since recent events, including the Grenfell disaster, I’ve already begun to see a visible difference in some of the building fires that I am attending, even if it’s something as simple as fire doors being used correctly by residents and occupants, as opposed to being propped open.

How have you seen the fire safety glass industry evolve in recent years and are there any key trends that you think will influence the industry moving forward?

From my perspective, perhaps the biggest change within the industry in recent years is there being an increase in technical and product knowledge questions – people are wanting to increase their own product knowledge, as ultimately they could be held accountable for an incorrectly installed system. There is, rightly so, a lot more caution in the marketplace currently and, at Pyroguard, we are increasingly being asked by our customers to provide certification support and test evidence reports for our products and systems – which, of course, we are more than happy to do and indeed encourage. This emphasis on test evidence is definitely a key ongoing trend within the industry and something that I only hope continues.

I feel that there has also been a recognisable shift away from cost as a primary motivator. Of course, when you’re dealing with people’s lives, cost really should not be at the forefront of the equation, and so it’s great to see this change in mind-set. For example, when it comes to the three different classifications of fire safety glass, despite E (Integrity only) being the minimum required by UK Building Regulations, I am seeing more and more projects choosing to install EW rating (Integrity and Radiation) instead. Change is happening.

How have you been keeping busy during lockdown?

Despite these strange and unprecedented times, I’ve still been keeping myself busy and using the time productively, continuing my training and development within the fire safety industry – there’s always more to learn. I’ve been studying for my ‘Fire Science, Operations and Fire Safety’ IFE exam, which I’m proud to say I’ve recently passed. This is an additional qualification within the emergency services and enables me to progress from my current position as firefighter to Crew Manager.

I’ve also recently completed my emergency response exam, which means I am now qualified to drive Fire Service vehicles to emergency incidents and have been volunteering with East Midlands Ambulance Service, assisting with PPE logistics.

Now, I’m back in the office and looking forward to getting back to work!

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