Australia's disaster resilience explored at conference

Friday, 19 August, 2016

Australia's disaster resilience explored at conference

Australasia’s emergency management sector will convene to discuss the changing role of emergency response agencies and the importance of creating resilient communities at the AFAC16 conference in Brisbane.

Co-produced by the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) and Bushfire & Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, the event theme is Mitigation – Response – Recovery: Getting the balance right. It will focus on the evolving function of emergency managers in preventing and responding to disaster. In addition, it will highlight the need to bolster the influence of emergency services in the post-disaster recovery process.

For the first time, AFAC will partner with INTERSHUTZ, a European trade fair for fire rescue, civil protection and security.

AFAC Chief Executive Officer Stuart Ellis said that the sector needs to redefine its role in protecting and supporting local communities.

“In the last five years we have seen catastrophic disasters in our region, including the Brisbane floods, bushfires across the country and the Christchurch earthquakes. Each event has reinforced the need for emergency managers to think differently about how they respond and their role in the recovery of the local community.

“AFAC16 will bring together global emergency management experts to share insights on how we can improve the balance of resources across mitigation, response and recovery. It is vital that across Australasia we are resilient in the face of disaster, and it is our emergency managers and researchers who are at the forefront of creating this resilience.”

The conference will showcase the latest thinking from national and international experts, with over 80 presentations across seven core themes. These include disaster resilience, transformational leadership, predictive services, capacity for coordination, partnerships, building back and integration, diversity and inclusion.

Live demonstrations will allow attendees to experience firsthand the latest developments in emergency equipment and technology.

The conference commences with a dedicated research forum, highlighting how research and scientific developments into natural hazards will benefit emergency managers. A diverse range of research will be on show according to the chief executive officer of the Bushfire & Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, Richard Thornton.

“Emergency and land managers will benefit greatly by engaging directly with researchers on key industry issues. There is no silver bullet for natural hazards safety and we must continue to ask the difficult and complex questions to identify what we do not know,” Thornton said.

The conference will run from 30 August–1 September 2016.

Image credit: © Franco

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