AFAC19 powered by INTERSCHUTZ | 27-30 August 2019 | Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre | #AFAC19

Call for Abstracts

Call for Abstracts is now closed. Thank you to all of you who have submitted your ideas!

AFAC19 Theme

A shift to the new norm: riding the wave of change
AFAC19 will explore how the emergency management sector is transitioning to a new normality. The program will focus on how our communities, environments and systems are evolving and adapting to change. As we reflect, learn and evaluate, how do we adjust to the new norm?

AFAC19 supporting topics

Changing Culture

Fire and emergency services are the most trusted members of our community. At the heart of our services is the commitment to help the community in their time of need. As emergency services have evolved, there has been an increasing need for leaders to shape their values and culture. Across the emergency management sector, discussions on increasing diversity and fostering inclusion have resulted in positive change, but leaders acknowledge that more work needs to be done. There is a need to continue to look after the people that look after our communities, with an increasing focus on the mental health and wellbeing of our workforce.

As we continue to ride the wave of change, what does the culture of the emergency management sector look like? How can we work to ensure that our organisations reflect the communities they serve? How can we better support the mental health and wellbeing of our people?

Abstracts submitted under this theme could include:
• Diversity and inclusion
• leadership
• mental health and wellbeing
• organisational culture
• policy
• values

Changing Communities

Communities across Australia and New Zealand are changing. As urban sprawl continues in major cities and regional hubs, the population in many rural communities is declining. Our population is ageing and increasingly an emphasis is being placed on communities to be resilient, before, during and after emergencies. The long-term impacts of disasters and challenges in community recovery are becoming increasingly evident. Changing trends in volunteering are creating opportunities for new volunteer experiences even while traditional models of volunteering are threatened.

As communities change, what is the impact on fire and emergency services? How can we better work with communities to change expectations and empower them to prepare for emergencies and recover sustainably?

Abstracts submitted under this theme could include:
• new models of volunteering
• demographic change
• recovery
• community disaster resilience
• community engagement and communications
• rural decline and urbanisation

Changing World

Change is not unique to Australia. There are key trends that drive change across the globe.
Technology and automation have changed the way in which we work. Information can be broadcast and shared instantly through social media and other channels. Our climate is changing and expected to increase the frequency and severity of many of our hazards.

Emerging hazards including pandemics, infrastructure and supply chain failure and na-tech events are challenging traditional
areas of responsibility. Budgets are getting tighter, and there is an expectation to do more with less.

What effect do the global drivers of change (economic, environmental, social, political, or
technological) have on the sector? How can we work to respond and adapt to change in the short, medium and long term?

Abstracts submitted under this theme could include:
• automation, artificial intelligence and robotics
• catastrophic disasters
• climate change
• digital volunteerism
• convergence and technology
• economics
• emerging hazards and risks
• information and social media
• political landscape

Changing Ourselves

Learning lessons from the past can inform better outcomes for the future. New research provides the sector with an evidence base to inform practice and procedures. Evaluation and an increased focus on outcomes highlights where improvements and efficiencies can be implemented. Data analytics are beginning to drive decision making. The challenge for the future is how we best manage lessons and implement recommendations into practice.

In the quest to improve our organisations, how are new approaches to lessons management driving change? How can we better utilise research? How can the the fire and emergency services learn more from other industries? How are research, lessons management, evaluation and data working together to drive improvement?

Abstracts submitted under this theme could include:
• big data and data insights
• monitoring and evaluation
• research utilisation and knowledge transfer
• lessons management
• learning and development

Changing Tools

As the sector evolves, our tools of trade are evolving too. To embrace the opportunities that innovation brings, organisations need to be adaptable and open to change. Advancements in technology improve the way we work from IT and communications, through to protective clothing and equipment. Economies of scale are making new tools available for first responders from Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) to exoskeletons and robotics.

How can we innovate to assist us in transitioning to a new normality? How are research insights developing new equipment and systems? What possibilities does technology bring? What does our future look like when embracing technological improvements?

Abstracts submitted under this theme could include:
• emerging technology
• innovation in equipment, vehicles and systems
• information and communications technology
• software, hardware and mobile apps
• safety by design

Changing Capability

Emergency service organisations use their expertise to assist communities before, during and after emergencies. The ability to undertake these activities relies heavily on capability. As our communities and responsibilities change, new capabilities are being developed, and existing capabilities altered. Jointly delivered capabilities are an increasing feature of the emergency management sector. Effort has been directed to build more collaboration and interoperability and improve capability across the sector. Partnerships with business are bringing in new capabilities for the sector and expanding our capacity to respond.

How can we remain agile, sustainable and effective into the future? How can we continue to improve community safety and foster resilience into the future? What opportunities exist to partner with others to strengthen capability? How can we maintain a sustainable workforce?

Abstracts submitted under this theme could include:
• business partnerships and engagement
• human resource management
• flexible structures and resources
• interoperability
• predictive services
• procurement
• service delivery
• volunteer career paths

AFAC19 Selection Process

Abstract submissions for AFAC19 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.

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 for multiple Abstracts for consideration by the conference committee.

Submissions open on 6 December 2018 and require written responses and attachments for the Research Forum which can be uploaded via the online submission system. For any questions, please contact the team.

STAGE 2: Submissions must be lodged online and completed by Monday, 18 February 2019.

STAGE 3: Submissions will be reviewed by the Program Committee who will assess each submission. Selection 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 selected by the Program Committee on 5 March 2019 and will be endorsed by the Steering Committee on 9 April 2019.

STAGE 5: Authors who have been successful in being granted an oral presentation and/or poster presentation will be notified by the end of March 2019.

STAGE 6: Authors must accept their offer by 18 April 2019. Following the acceptance of the offer, speakers agree to register to attend the conference and provide the following:

Oral presentation

AFAC and ADRC Program

  • a 2000 word paper by 5 July 2019

Research Forum

  • a 3000 word paper for peer review by 17 May 2019, if a peer reviewed publication from the Research Forum is sought. The 3000 word papers will be peer reviewed, with authors notified of review outcomes by 5 July 2019. Revised manuscripts addressing reviewer comments will be due by 12 July 2019.


  • If a peer review is not sought, a 3000 word paper by 5 July 2019.

Poster presentation

  • Authors commit to registering to attend the conference and providing a PDF copy of their poster to [email protected] by 5 July 2019.

Speaker registration

Speaker registration 3 Day  |  $1,450 + GST
Speaker registration 2 Day  |  $1,050 + GST
Speaker registration 1 Day  |  $540 + GST

Contact us

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

  • Zoe Kenyon, Assistant Director Communications and Events, AFAC, [email protected]
  • Desiree Beekharry, Core Research Program Manager, Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, [email protected]
  • Lachlan Andrew, Conference and Events Manager, Hannover Fairs Australia, [email protected]