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Embracing innovation and disruption: designing the future for our sector 

There is an immediate need for fire and emergency services to adapt to be prepared for the future. Resource constraints, declining volunteer numbers and a changing climate drive the need for organisations to think differently and look for new solutions. Creating an inclusive culture that encourages new ideas and diversity of thought is key.  

Engaging presentations will offer ways to actively disrupt the norm, take control and shape the way forward.  

AFAC24 will explore how we can foster new thinking to ensure we are prepared for the challenges we face now and into the future.  

AFAC24 Supporting Topics

The committee encourages you to submit an abstract under one of the following supporting topics: 

Climate and environment 

The change in climate has directly impacted on the world around us. Weather is more severe and hazard events can be more frequent and have long lasting effects on communities. There is a focus on adaptation by making adjustments to ecological, economic and social systems. New technology, information and data is being utilised to support decisions and better predict and detect hazards. How is innovation and new technology responding to climate change? What are organisations doing to address sustainability and adaptation? How are roles changing due to climate change? 

Abstracts submitted under this topic could include: 

  • Climate change and adaptation  

  • Environment and hazards 

  • Land management 

  • Predictive services 

  • Weather 

Submit Your Abstract

People and community

Our communities are diverse and our organisations strive for diverse and inclusive workforces. After compounding and cascading events in recent years, disaster fatigue and the mental health and wellbeing of personnel are key concerns. How can organisations best support their people? While volunteer numbers can be high in some areas, how do we sustain volunteers in more rural and remote areas? What does a sustainable workforce look like? 

Abstracts submitted under this topic could include: 

  • Inclusive approaches 

  • Mental health and wellbeing 

  • Recruitment and retention 

  • Resilience and risk reduction 

  • Volunteerism 

  • Work health and safety

Submit Your Abstract

Systems and technology 

Investing in new technology and improved systems assists us to achieve better outcomes. Turning data into intelligence and utilising research can inspire new ways of working. The alternative energy space brings benefits to community and environment, but also poses challenges for fire and emergency services. How can we make the most of new approaches to work smarter? What are the most useful ways to use research? How can we be agile and embrace new systems and technologies? 

Abstracts submitted under this topic could include: 

  • AI 
  • Alternate fuels space 
  • Data 
  • Innovation 
  • New technology  
  • Research utilisation 
  • Systems 

Submit Your Abstract

Working and learning together

We are continually working together, be that locally, interstate or even internationally. Collaborating, learning and sharing information builds strength across organisations and works to remove barriers. Looking outside and partnering with others can inspire a new way of tackling an issue. Many of the challenges we face are similar, so how can we work together to solve things collectively? There have been many reviews and inquiries recently, how are we learning from them and embedding lessons into practice? What opportunities are there to change service delivery? How does working together improve outcomes? 

Abstracts submitted under this topic could include: 

  • Collaboration and partnerships 

  • Lessons management

  • Resource sharing 

  • Reviews and inquiries 

  • Service delivery 

  • Training and exercising 

Submit Your Abstract

AFAC24 Selection Process

Abstract submissions for AFAC24 are open to all, including career staff, volunteers, researchers and academics, industry, community and all levels of government. The submission and selection process is as follows, and please ensure you have the approval and support from your agency before submitting an abstract:

STAGE 1: Authors are invited to lodge a personal submission, a submission on a colleague's behalf, or a submission on behalf of their organisation, addressing the relevant theme and topics. An author can submit multiple abstracts for consideration by the Conference Committee. Submissions open on Wednesday 6 December 2023 and require written responses which can be uploaded via the online submission system.

STAGE 2: Submissions must be lodged online and completed by 11pm AEDT on Tuesday 13 February 2024.

STAGE 3: Submissions will be reviewed by the Program Committee who will assess each submission. The Committee will score each submission based on its relevance to the overall conference theme and the topic being addressed.

STAGE 4: Submissions are assessed and shortlisted, and the final oral presenters are selected by the Program Committee - these will then be endorsed by the Steering Committee on Thursday 4 April 2024.

STAGE 5: Authors who have been successful in being granted an oral presentation and/or poster presentation will be notified as soon as possible following endorsement from the Steering Committee.

STAGE 6: Authors must accept their offer by Friday 26 April 2024. Following the acceptance of the offer, speakers agree to register to attend the Conference and provide the following:

If you are a presenter at the AFAC Research and Innovation Day or the Main Conference Program, please adhere to the following submission deadlines:

  • Headshot and Biography: Email a high-resolution headshot along with a 200-word bio to by Monday, 3 June 2024.
  • Extended Paper Submission: Submit a 2,000-word paper by Monday, 1 July 2024.
  • Oral Presentation Materials: If you are delivering an oral presentation, please submit your PowerPoint slides (using the event template, which will be distributed in advance) by Monday, 19 August 2024.

Contact us

For any questions about abstract submissions or for more information, please contact:

  • Zoe Kenyon, Director Communications and Events, AFAC
  • Ana Moreno, Director Communications and Events, AFAC
  • Silvia Verdina, Conference and Events Manager, Hannover Fairs Australia