AFAC 2016 – Brisbane hosts record breaking fire & emergency management conference
More than 2300 emergency management personnel and volunteers, researchers and fire industry professionals gathered in Brisbane at the end of August to hear the latest research findings, explore new approaches to disaster management and learn about new life-saving technologies.
AFAC16 powered by INTERSCHUTZ, was the largest emergency management conference and exhibition in Australasia, held from 30 August to 1 September at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
A new partnership between the AFAC and Deutsche Messe Australia, organisers of the internationally renowned INTERSCHUTZ exhibition held in Germany every five years, contributed to a successful AFAC16 powered by INTERSCHUTZ conference and exhibition.
The display included 160 exhibitors from over 14 countries demonstrating an extensive range of equipment and services to the emergency management professionals and first responders.
Sponsors included Fujitsu, Pheonix G2, Capita, Adashi, Isuzu Trucks, GAAM Emergency Products, Hino, DigitalGlobe, Esri Australia, Motorola Solutions and Tait Communications.
Highlights of the exhibition included a live demonstration area that featured The Australasian Road Rescue Organisation (ARRO) who demonstrated severe road crash rescue simulations. Also demonstrated was a virtual fire training system using smoke and special screens by BullEx & HAAGEN, and a fire retardant solution that drops solar panels voltage to zero, removing the risk of explosion, by PV Stop. Smokeshield also demonstrated a fire training simulation. SASGAR Fire and Rescue also displayed the Rosenbauer L20-FA Combined Aerial Pumping Appliance.
A nearby expo stage featured practical sessions across a broad range of topics including technologies and innovation advancements through to human factors.
Stuart Ellis AM, CEO, AFAC observed that the conference played an integral role in the continued development of the emergency management sector across Australasia.
“AFAC16 provided attendees a valuable opportunity to share knowledge and information, learn from one another and get to know each other. Over three days there were more than 100 engaging presentations and countless insightful and inspiring discussions.
“The successful partnership between AFAC and Deutsche Messe Australia has resulted in the largest trade exhibition in the history of the AFAC conference. AFAC16 has seen record delegate numbers walk through the doors to hear about the latest in research, technology and equipment in the emergency management sector,” said Mr Ellis.
Such was the success of this year’s exhibition, that 65 percent of exhibition space was pre-booked onsite for AFAC17, which will be held from 4 – 7 September 2017 at the new International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney).
Highlight speakers included Rhoda Mae Kerr, Chief of the Austin Fire Department (USA) who presented on the importance of diversity, inclusion and leading by example. Mark Crosweller, Director-General of Emergency Management Australia outlined how the sector needs to transform to align with the changing rules of disasters and Katarina Carroll, Commissioner at Queensland Fire and Emergency Services explored the challenges, complexities and opportunities of leadership within the emergency sector.
Katarina Carroll, Commissioner, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services was proud to host the event in Brisbane, applauding the underlying theme of Mitigation, Response, Recovery – Getting the balance right.
“The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services is extraordinarily proud to host AFAC16 powered by INTERSHUTZ. This conference focuses on one of the most relevant questions in emergency management – are we getting the balance right?” said Ms Carroll.
More than 400 emergency managers and researchers attended the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre’s (CRC) Research Forum on the first day of the conference, with attendees learning new and innovative ways to keep communities safe from natural hazards.
Dr Richard Thornton, CEO of Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC said the combined conference and research forum highlighted the importance of relationships between research and the emergency services.
“To have the connectedness that exists and continues to evolve between researchers and emergency management practitioners is fantastic. These critical relationships are increasingly important, and a key aspect of what the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC is about. These partnerships are more important now than ever as we continue to embed research findings into practice,” said Dr Thornton.
Another popular element of the exhibition space was the 160 posters on display in the Knowledge Lounge. All the research posters are online at www.bnhcrc.com.au
For more information, go to www.afacconference.com.au