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

Expo Stage


Expo Stage

The Expo Stage will feature practical, 20-minute presentations aimed at the operational staff of emergency management organisations. These will be run by guest speakers and exhibitors and will give attendees knowledge that can be used in practice. Themes will include: Technology &Innovation, PPE, Resilience & Preparedness, Diversity & Development, Community & Engagement¸ Community Resilience & Natural Disasters, Telecommunication, AIR Operations and Trucks.

These sessions will be open to all AFAC18 visitors.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

2:00pm – 2:20pm

The relationships between Clothing & Equipment and Performance / Injury

The session will look at injuries (both acute and chronic) and their mechanisms that are common to Firefighters and Law Enforcement personnel and discuss the roles and relationships of Clothing and Equipment. Injury mitigation and concomitant optimised health and force preservation will be discussed with pragmatic real-world evidence and guidance provided.

Dr. Rob Orr, Associate Professor and Lead of the Tactical Research Unit, Bond University

2:20pm- 2:40pm

Commercial Vehicle Industry Megatrends and their impact on Emergency Service Vehicles

Simon Humphries will unpack the key trends that are shaping future commercial vehicles, and how they are shaping the specifications and operations of emergency vehicles.

Simon Humpries, Chief Engineer, Product Strategy,Isuzu

2:40 pm – 3:00 pm

Disruptive Technologies

The increase of new technologies in the automotive space create exciting opportunities. What does automation and electrification mean to Emergency Services?

Scott Simpson, Senior Product Manager, Volvo

3:00pm – 3:20pm

Moving Fire and Emergency Response into the Future

The Time to defend your and your company’s reputation is before the event – not during a Coroner’s case. Be prepared by having the right state of mind and equipping yourself with the best technology available. See the development of Locatrix’s Emergency Services Platform and learn about how we believe in keeping people safe in buildings by capturing and sharing of critical building information for safety professionals via our software applications.

Graeme Thom, Senior Officer, QFES

3:20pm -3.40pm

LMK: Firefighters using technology to fight suicide, depression, PTSD and substance abuse

Scott Darcy, Station Officer, Let Me Know 

3:40pm – 4:00pm

The Queensland Disaster Management Research Framework

The Queensland Disaster Management Research Framework (DMRF) was initiated to enable a sector-wide  approach of the use of research across all areas of disaster management.  The DMRF focuses on local issues, local research and local solutions, enabling a coordinated approach to undertaking, managing and sharing research; supporting the development of research for strategic disaster management priorities, by connecting policy makers and disaster management practitioners with researchers; and enabling the transition of applying research into practice.

Dr Allison Rifai, Principal Program Officer -research, Research and Engagement, Office of the Inspector-General Emergency Management

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

10:00am – 10:20am

Career and volunteer firefighters’ mental health and the importance of job satisfaction in contributing to PTSD, depression and anxiety

  1. Prevalence rates for PTSD, depression, anxiety and alcohol use disorders based on diagnostic clinical interviews;
  2. Evidence that mental health symptoms persisted over time and were generally the strongest contributors to mental health symptoms measured at follow-up;
  3. Data identifying the important relationship between firefighters’ job satisfaction related to routine operational aspects of their work and their mental health. High job satisfaction related to operational aspects of firefighters’ work protected career firefighters against the development of PTSD and depression;

The importance of these findings for firefighters and fire services will be discus

Heather Bancroft,Clinical Psychologist,The University of Melbourne 

10:20am – 10:40am

Resilience at work

RAW Mind Coach is the world’s 1st mindfulness based online resilience training program for firefighters. Develop following research conducted at Fire and Rescue New South Wales by Dr Sadhbh Joyce whilst working as part of the UNSW Workplace Mental Health Research Team in association with the Black Dog Institute. John will be outlining the results of the randomised control trial and discussing the psychological benefits and increased levels of resilience in firefighters and other high-risk workers when they complete the Resilience @ Work (RAW) Mind Coach Program.

John McGarvey, Senior Firefighter and Rescue Operator, Fire and Rescue NSW 

10:40am – 11:00am

Finding purpose after service – Military Veteran reintegration through volunteering

When it comes to emergency management,military veterans are an underutilised resource. I have recently completed a Churchill Fellowship investigating the growing number of veteran volunteering organisations in the US. My research focused on what attracts veterans to volunteering and how the nature of volunteering is changing.

Retiring military personnel leave an environment that provided them with a strong sense of purpose and camaraderie. Emergency management organisations provide similar environments. To attract veteran volunteers, organisations need to develop streamlined pathways that allow veterans to reconnect with the values they enjoyed during military service. Attracting and retaining veteran volunteers means providing an environment for innovation, and leadership opportunities.

Team Rubicon US has recruited over 100,000 volunteers in less than 10 years they do this by fostering local leadership and trusting their members to make good decisions without limiting their ability to innovate.

Mark Dobson, Station Officer, Fire & Rescue NSW

11:30am – 11:50am

Recovery Wellbeing – how to support emergency staff

The DELWP Recovery Team recognised the potential psychological impacts of emergency recovery resulting from long-term fatigue and demanding community engagement and determined that improvements were required to the way DELWP supports its staff post emergency.

In 2018 the team developed a project that aimed to support the mental health and wellbeing of staff working in emergency recovery. It was delivered through a ‘package’ of tools for DELWP staff, including:

  • Psychological First Aid training being rolled out across the state, with a specific ‘recovery’ focus for those who work in disaster impacted communities.
  • Creation of an online Recovery Wellbeing ‘Hub’ which includes video stories and advice from experienced recovery workers and links to support services and other useful information
  • A series of launch events to; promote the Hub, acknowledge the importance of supporting recovery workers, and provide opportunities for staff to connect, share stories and information.

The project the team were able to raise awareness on the risks to mental health after emergencies and the impact on staff and to the organisation. With the support of senior leaders speaking at the launches, the team demonstrated that

  • the wellbeing of recovery workers is important;
  • that recovery staff are valued and their contributions to communities and to emergency management are recognised; and
  • that DELWP are working harder at finding ways to support them.

The guest speaker at the launches, Jolie Wills, Christchurch earthquake survivor, cognitive physiologist and Winston Churchill scholar, was able to provide a greater understanding of recovery wellbeing and how individuals, managers and leaders could support recovery workers.

The project has given recovery workers a safe place to connect with others with similar experiences and ensure they don’t feel isolated and alone, that they have support systems. And importantly it has seen a shift in the Departments, to one that now better recognises the importance of people who work in emergency recovery and the demanding work they experience.

Nathalie Brown, Senior Programs Officer, Forest, Fire & Emergencies, Department Of Environment, Land, Water & Planning

11:50am – 12:10pm

Supporting individuals and communities through high emotion after emergencies

Fiona Li, Senior Policy Officer, Emergency Management, Department of Health and Human Services

12:10pm – 12:30pm

Cancer Awareness Education, from firefighting in, to firefighting out

Training, education and recognition of the epidemic of cancer in the fire service has been a goal of the Firefighter Cancer Support Network for many years. It is imperative that new generations of fire fighters are made aware of how large and impactful this problem is.
Cancer is the number 1 killer of firefighters based on the data from International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). Therefore, how to protect firefighter by himself from the dangerous contaminants on the fire ground is a trending topic.
As an internationally known manufacturer of high-quality personal protective equipment and systems designed to help save lives, Bullard is a thought leader to protect firefighters, from fighting in to fighting out.
The Session objective is to raise emergency management sector’s cancer awareness for our firefighters.

Dhanesh Jagwani, Regional Sales Manager, Bullard

12:30pm – 12:50pm

Creative ways to succeed when engaging with Communities

Dr Moreton will share some innovative conversational resources she has developed to bring creativity and story telling to community engagement for emergency planning, preparedness and recovery.  She  will share the resources with the group and we will use them, having conversations and experiencing the power of art, of story telling, and of being community led.  Dr Moreton will bring to the conversation examples of community led community engagement from her work, as appropriate.   Come along and experience an innovative approach to working with community leaders of all ages, and a diverse range of community groups. 

Margaret Moreton, Principal, Leva Consulting

12:50pm – 1:10pm

Challenging current bush firefighter behaviour to reduce exposure to harmful carcinogens and contaminants at incidents

Jamie Samson,Captain, DFES Volunteer Fire & Rescue Brigade in Paraburdoo

2:20pm – 2:40pm

Knowledge into action: strengthening disaster resilience in Australia

 With our changing climate bringing more complex, intense and frequent disasters, how can Australia prepare for a resilient future?

The Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience (AIDR) works with a broad stakeholder group to develop, maintain and share knowledge and learning to support and strengthen Australia’s disaster resilience.

This presentation will outline how AIDR can support and enhance your disaster resilience initiatives through a range of programs and services. This includes its flagship publications: the Australian Disaster Resilience Handbook Collection and the Australian Journal of Emergency Management; a range of education and professional development programs delivered nationally; and curated resources made freely accessible online.

AIDR is supported by its partners: the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, Australian Red Cross, AFAC and the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (BNHCRC).

Melissa Matthews, Information and Knowledge Management, Ella Wilkinson, Project Officer ADRC

2:40pm – 3:00pm

Ten Years on from the Victorian Black Saturday Bushfires Public Information during response, what have we learnt?

The Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission (Parliament of Victoria, 2010) recommended that fire agencies alter the Australasian Inter-Service Incident Management System (AIIMS) to acknowledge and give greater authority to public information, placing it on the same level as the operations, planning and logistic functions of incident management. It was arguably from this point that public information during the response phase became a greater priority for emergency services (AFAC, 2017).
Based on a review of the literature and an online survey completed with public information response staff at Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) and the State Emergency Service (SES) in 2018, Peter’s research identifies the current state of practice and challenges within the public information function. The research provides suggested recommendations for enhancement with a focus on the state of Tasmania as a case study.

Peter will discuss where we are at ten-years on from the Victorian Black Saturday Bushfires, inviting the audience to provide their thoughts on the topic. Exploring the following topics:

• Working within an integrated emergency management model across all hazards.
• Prevention, preparedness and response being linked and a community resilience approach.
• Tackling challenges including; vulnerable technology, community and stakeholder relationships, increasing public expectations, gaps in understanding behavioural change, organisational culture, leadership and vulnerable populations (ageing population).
• Continuing shift to impact based warnings.

Peter Middleton,Coordinator Community Development & State Public Information Officer,Tasmania Fire Service

3:00pm – 3:20pm

Advancing emergency preparedness for people with disabilities and chronic health conditions in the community

Michelle Villeneuve, Research Lead – Disability-Inclusive Community Development , The University of Sydney 

3:20pm – 3:45pm

Building resilience with the homeless community during extreme weather

A study by Australian Red Cross and CQ University in 2016 identified key impacts extreme weather has on people experiencing homelessness in Australia.
Just think, when you are tucked up at home with the heater on this winter, how are people sleeping rough coping? Did they know this storm or cold snap was coming? Did they have a plan to keep warm this winter?
Out of the Storm was an innovative pilot project run by the Australian Red Cross, Hutt St centre and CQ University to address some of these concerns and provide a genuine opportunity for people experiencing homelessness to contribute their unique knowledge and skills to co-designing resources that will help keep people informed during extreme weather.

Alana Pedler, People At Risk Project Officer and Nick Banks,Coordinator Community Resilience, Australian Red Cross

3:45pm – 4:10pm

Changing our Operations to meet Community needs during a Complex Incident

The communities of South Western Victoria were hit with fast moving bushfires on St Patrick’s day night 2018, that was just the beginning, peat swamps ignited by fires would burn for weeks, displacing families, providing health challenges and stopping vital recovery works. Protracted and complex operations followed.

This session will detail how Incident Management Teams can adapt and bring diverse agencies together to achieve community outcomes to mitigate consequences of emergencies.

Mark Gunning –Incident Controller during these emergencies will share how AIIMs Teams were adapted and focussed to deal with the emergency in a Community context – this simple act of changing Planning and Team goals contributed to much of the success.

Jo Beard – former Mayor of Corangamite Shire, where 3 fires struck, will explain, from a community viewpoint, how simple changes in the approach from emergency management agencies can lead to improved emergency and community outcomes

Mark Gunning, Incident controller, Jo Beard, CFA

Thursday, 29 August 2019

10:00am – 10:20am

 Solar Panels & the DC Danger Zone – The “New Normal” for Fire & Emergency Services

Jim Foran, Founder and CEO, PvStop 

10:20am – 10:40am

Latrobe Valley Intelligence Network

I would like to inform you about the world’s largest real-time environmental monitoring network that has commenced online in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria on the 1st May. The comprehensive network combines bushfire ignition detection, flood level monitoring, air quality tracking and 24-hour micro-climate weather monitoring, to provide early notification of fires, floods and air quality issues, such as storm asthma that can impact the lives of residents.

Developed and supported by Australian company Attentis, the patented technology has been implemented as part of the Federal Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program with installation and ongoing support from the Latrobe City Council.

Lance King, Coordinator Emergency Management, Latrobe City Council

10:40am – 11:00am

Responding to White Powder Incidents: Have We Come Full Circle?

Kate Grimwood,Senior Chemist and Research Officer – Emergency Response, Chemcentre

11:30am – 11:50am

Building a mobile mapping solution to support remote area fuel reduction operations

Effective delivery of planned burning operations relies on meeting the dual challenges of effectively reducing fuel hazard, while providing appropriate protections for cultural and environmental values. These challenges can be even more difficult to meet when delivering planned burns in remote areas, as burns are often ignited from the air with limited reference points available for operational personnel, and access to mobile data is unreliable.

This presentation will outline development and implementation of a practical mobile mapping solution built on ESRI infrastructure that allows access to authoritative, up to date data relating to the burn delivery plan, allows operators to effectively work offline, and allows recording of ignition progress and other observations which can then be easily shared with ground based personnel and Burn Management Teams.

Anthony Cheesman, Gis Team Leader, Department of Environment, Land, Water And Planning


11:50am – 12:10pm

Applying design thinking to Introduce a new Type 3

Dan Wilton, Senior Business Analyst, Fire and Emergency New Zealand 

12:10pm – 12:30pm

Trial and Evaluation of a Smoke Management Protocol in NSW

Laurence McCoy, Senior Fire Behaviour Analyst, NSW Rural Fire Service

1:50pm – 2:10pm

Diversity more than the eye can see – Challenging how we look at diversity

Diversity and how organisations become more inclusive has become a key focus across the Emergency Management Sector (EMS). However, this is a complex and at times difficult task. One of the key challenges is that the conversation surrounding this is not a single conversation, but multiple conversations that need to come together to create the holistic overview needed to support transformational change in organisations and the sector as a whole.

Recent research undertaken by the BNHCRC has shown that most organisations in the EMS understand diversity primarily as being about men and women. There were also indications that minority groups in firefighting services face specific challenges due to the entrenched historical and hierarchical nature of these particular organisations. This is further complicated by the different context of paid and unpaid members of these organisations, the communities they work within and where they are situated (urban, rural or remote) (Young et al. 2018).

This session will help participants redefine diversity, to see diversity as an asset and the importance of valuing our people by valuing the diverse skills, knowledge and experience they bring. We will frame a discussion on how diversity brings capability through diverse perspectives and enables greater community connection and understanding of community needs.

Janine Taylor, Acting Director, Community Capability And Volunteerism,Operations Analyst, Queensland Fire And Emergency Services

Steve O’ Malley, Fairness and Inclusion Officer, Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board, Melbourne

Celeste Young, Collaborative Research Fellow, Victoria University

1:50pm –  2:10pm

Understanding how people directly affected respond to a bushfire disaster

This presentation offers an understanding of resident involvement in the 2013 Forcett, Tasmania bushfire disaster. The grounded theory approach, adopted by the researcher, constructed a theory grounded in the data that was collected from the research participants. ‘Navigating Uncertainty’ outlines the processes of surviving a bushfire disaster. In the first phase titled ‘losing the familiar’, community members’ main concern was the bushfire. Many felt overwhelmed by the unpredictability of the fire behaviour, which threatened life and largely diminished a context that was familiar, routine and safe. Safeguarding self, family, and others was a priority. In the second phase titled ‘restoring the familiar’, community members’ main concern was the disaster, the unfamiliar milieu, silence and devastation. To resolve this concern community members directed their efforts on the restoration of everyday life. Normality offered a level of certainty or stability and safety. The final phase titled ‘living with change’, involved reflecting on the overall event and its consequences to attach and construct one’s own interpretation. The position or stance community members adopted influenced how they adapted to change, and/or, moved forward.


Fiona Jennings, Social worker, Bairnsdale Regional Health Service

2:10pm – 2:30pm

Simplifying command and control in dynamic, information-heavy environments for emergency services

Babcock has developed a new command and control situational awareness tool designed for collating, analysing, managing and communicating information in dynamic environments to a wide range of users. The tool brings clarity to decision makers in a sea of data, with applications ranging from counter-terrorism to emergency service and humanitarian aid. The presentation will discuss the application of the tool in a CBD emergency service scenario.

Craig Schwartz, Business Development Manager, Babcock

2:30pm – 2:50pm

Session TBC- MSA Safety