Ask the Expert – Bettina McDowell

Bettina McDowell

Bettina McDowell, General Manager, International Water Mist Association talks to IFB about the benefits of water mist as a form of fire suppression

The International Water Mist Association (IWMA) is the first association of its kind dedicated exclusively to water mist firefighting and related technologies. The IWMA was founded on 4th April 1998 and began maintaining a permanent office at the beginning of 2000. From the IWMA’s international headquarters in Hamburg, Germany, it supports the continued development, research and applications engineering of generic water mist systems. IFB sits down with Bettina McDowell, General Manager, IWMA to find out why water mist is so efficient and effective against fire.  

What sets the International Water Mist Association (IWMA) apart from other fire safety leaders’ organisations?  

Every organisation is unique due to where the people in it come from and where they are headed. IWMA represents manufacturers, installers, distributors, approval bodies, educational and research institutes etc. involved in a technology which is not new, but which received the all-decisive boost just over three decades ago. Our members had to find their place in a well-established surrounding based on theories that I would say were and still are expandable. To understand water mist, one has to look at firefighting from a different angle and it is one of our main tasks to invite those involved in firefighting to change their perspective. This is not always easy, but the water mist community is ambitious and persistent – without being too pushy. We believe that the main question has got to be: which is the best firefighting method for any one application? And the fact is that in many cases it is either water mist or water mist is one of the most suitable choices.  

After a 12 month break due to the Covid-19 pandemic the water mist community met in Warsaw in October 2021 for the 20th International Water Mist Conference. What was it like to meet again?  

First of all, I must say that I was amazed about the number of registrations. At the end of the day, we had as many delegates in the conference room as always – among them many new faces which was great. I think everybody was happy – after 18 months of travel restrictions and hardly any opportunity to network – to renew contacts, to form new business relationships and to have the odd chat about this and that. A while ago we talked about whether it would make sense to meet every other year, but the current situation and the year without this event has shown us that this is not an option. 

Where and when will the 21st International Water Mist Conference take place?  

The 21st IWMC and Exhibition will take place on 9th and 10th November at the Elba Madrid Alcala Hotel and like in Warsaw, IWMA will again offer special prices for locals. This is a great opportunity for Spanish firefighting experts who would like to learn more about the technology – but of course for everybody else from all other parts of the world as well. The call for papers has been released and can be downloaded from the IWMA webpage. The abstract deadline is 16th May – the day when also the conference webpage will be activated, and the ticket sale starts – and on 1st July the conference programme will be published. We will again, I am sure, have two days filled with interesting and informative presentations on water mist in action and also on research and testing. And we will invite the winner of the IWMA Young Talent Award.  


To read more exclusive features and latest news please see our February issue here.

Media contact

Rebecca Morpeth Spayne,
Editor, International Fire Buyer
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922

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