Barry Alderslade, Chairman of AFOA

AFOA Conference - last chance to book your place

Published:  26 November, 2015

The Airport Fire Officers Association (AFOA) has confirmed that 150 delegates have already signed up for its annual conference, held at the Hilton at London Gatwick Airport on January 20-21, 2016.

Deputy chairmain for AFOA, Simon Petts said that registration for the event is at a record high this year, and that the conference has nearly reached its full capacity. ‘There are still some spaces for delegates available, but I urge people to sign up sooner rather than later. Not in the least to take advantage of the earlybird rate which runs out on November 30. Anyone signing up after that date will have to pay the full price.

‘I am pleased that we are experiencing such demand to attend our conference, and not just from the UK and Ireland. ARFF professionals from other countries are registering as well. We hold the conference at Gatwick Airport this year, because is an extremely accessible location for national and international attendees.’

Supported by media partners Fire and Rescue magazine and Industrial Fire Journal and sponsored by Terberg DTS, the AFOA committee has prepared a programme consisting of the most prolific speakers in the industry, providing new strategic insights for ARFF staff.

Chief Fire Officer of Surrey Fire and Rescue Service Russell Pearson will kick off the conference with his keynote address in which he will highlight the on-going partnership between Surrey FRS and AFOA, while emphasising strategies to increase efficient cooperation between municipal and airport emergency services agencies.

Chairman of AFOA, Barry Alderslade said: ‘As this year’s chairman of AFOA, I am delighted with the outstanding programme we have prepared for the 2016 event. We have managed to raise the level of every one of our conferences so far. As an organisation, we have continued to steadily grow since our inception, while raising standards for our industry and promoting safe practice.

‘I am truly honoured to have speakers at the 2016 conference from all corners of the world who have all delivered their own contribution to better safety standards and crisis response and so have directly or indirectly saved many lives. There are many lessons we can learn from past incidents that will help us to prevent them from happening again.’

Deputy Chief Daniel Buscher from Dusseldorf Airport Fire Service, for instance, will recount his experiences of being in charge of Crisis Centre Operations during the German Wings A320 incident in March 2015, during which 150 people were tragically killed after the pilot crashed the plane in the Alps.

Other highlights on the day will include two speakers from the United States who were directly involved in the immediate response to 9/11. Captain Tony Tricarico, former-FDNY Special Operations Chief was in charge of one of the first teams to arrive at the World Trade Center in 2001, while Chief Jim Schwartz, from the Arlington County Fire Department in Virginia, organised the response to the bombings of the Pentagon on 9/11.

However, that is not all that will be addressed during the conference. Experts such as Dr Katherine Lamb, formerly of Oxfordshire FRS, will deliver a presentation on strategic incident command training, while other speakers tackle the African Ebola crisis and tunnel firefighting at airports.

Ian Greatbach, Senior Lecturer, for School of Geography, Geology and the Environment for the University of Kingston upon Thames will address how response agencies can use the concept of ‘big data’ to predict which incidents will occur in the future, so they can develop appropriate and fit-for purpose strategies to respond to them.

AFOA's annual conference also provides ideal networking opportunities for its attendees and exhibitors, since the event is aimed at anyone who deals with the response to aviation emergencies, ranging from aviation and municipal fire services, to police, ambulance, and airport operations departments and other agencies.

The exhibition at the conference underlines the aim of AFOA to improve cooperation between all parties involved in aviation response in which the right equipment and service delivery is a key part of the goal.

During the conference, attendees can meet representatives from main sponsor Terberg DTS, Simulation, The Fire Training Group, the International Fire Training Centre, Emergency Response Driver Training, Bristol Uniforms, Spectrum Healthcare and Geargrid.

The evening of the first conference day will see the annual AFOA gala dinner with top level defence solicitor advocate Mark Scoggins, while offering further networking opportunities for the attendees.

People who would like to attend the 2016 AFOA Annual Conference can sign up here. Companies that would like to become a sponsor can also sign up at that same page.

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