AFAC19: Australasia's largest Emergency Management conference and exhibition

There was no shortage of shiny red trucks, lights and sirens - or awards - at AFAC19, which was attended by over 3000 emergency services personnel last week. 


There was no shortage of big shiny red trucks at AFAC19.

On 27 - 30 August 2019, AFAC19 (powered by INTERSHUTZ) was held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. The theme, “A shift to the new norm: riding a wave of change”, explored how the emergency management sector is transitioning to a new normality.

The four days included a research forum on the Tuesday, hosted by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, followed by two days of AFAC (Australasian Fire Authorities Council) and a professional development program on the Friday.

AFAC19 ran concurrently with the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) National Conference, as well as the Australian Disaster Resilience Conference (presented by AIDR), which some CFA attendees were able to access throughout the week.

A highlight of the event included the Scoresby hose layer truck - a one of a kind in Australia which was on display in the exhibition area. This exciting truck, which has a large diameter hose which can move up to 7200L of water per minute, was a huge hit with attendees at AFAC19. 

There were a huge array of staff and volunteers who represented CFA throughout the event.

Senior Engagement Adviser (Program Inclusiveness) Angela Cook spoke about the Nhill Karen Community case study, along with her project team from the University of Adelaide and Nhill Learning Centre.

The topics included how to move beyond translated publications and towards community empowerment in areas of community engagement, and fire preparation and preparedness.

Niki Habibis, CFA’s Build Capacity and Capability Coordinator for the Safer Together Project, presented on empowering communities, strengthening agency capability in community-centred engagement.

Paul from CFA shows an AFAC19 attendee the virtual reality headsets.

Christina Hanger, Senior Engagement Adviser (Program Development), was awarded the 2019 Laurie Lavelle Award for undertaking work in community engagement, and empowering volunteers and staff through new programs, training and recruitment practices.

CFA volunteer Allie Guegan, firefighter from Langwarrin, also won an award for a poster presentation based around a joint project she undertook with Frankston City Council.

The CFA staff that set up and hosted the virtual reality experience, showing attendees the new technology, were extremely informative - and the experience was spoken about highly among attendees.

There were also various CFA members and staff that opted in to chair presentations, and to volunteer for all or part of the four-day event. Thank you to all who represented CFA or attended to support CFA people at AFAC19. 

Sam from Pac Fire, the designer of the new urban helmets, was at AFAC19 to explain the features.

Angela Cook from CFA's Community Engagement team, presented on the Nhill Karen Community case study with project colleagues.

Author: Daisy Cleland