irishcfoaThe emergency response to Hurricane Sandy and the evolving role of social media in major emergency management will be among the topics discussed at the 2013 Irish CFOA conference.

Cork City Fire Department will host year’s event, entitled ‘Serving and Protecting Communities - Shaping Future Fire Service Delivery’, at the Silversprings Moran Hotel on May 8-9.

The event will be officially opened by Fergus O’Dowd from the Irish Parliament's Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.

Annual showcase for Irish fire
The annual showcase event for Ireland’s Fire and Emergency Services sector, which is supported by Engineers Ireland and the Institute of Fire Engineers, will also feature a Fire Industry and Technology Exhibition.

Cork City CFO John Ryan said: "This year's conference will host expert speakers within the Emergency Services Sector and the Fire Technology/Industry from Ireland, Sweden, UK, USA and Canada who with their experience, knowledge and wisdom in different aspects of the Fire Service will attempt to provide innovative thoughts and ideas about how the Fire and Rescue Service can adapt to meet these challenges.

"A unique aspect to the conference this year will be the focus on inter-agency collaboration and the evolving role of social media in Major Emergency Management. This will be invaluable going forward as the concept of interoperability is advanced.  The programme for the second day of the conference highlights how major emergency management and we are delighted to have a senior member of the FDNY giving a paper on the response of his department to Hurricane Sandy."

New reality facing the fire service
Robert Maynes, Queens Borough Commander with the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) will present his department's paper, while Monika Buscher of Lancaster University will discuss the role played by Social Media in supporting emergency professionals and volunteers in mobilising information and resources for an improved disaster response.

The Conference keynote speaker is Peter Holland, the UK’s Chief Fire and Rescue Advisor, who will be exploring the future challenges for the Fire Service.

CFO Ryan added: "The new reality facing the fire service is that it has to adapt and be competent to meet current and future challenges against a background of budget and service constraints, changing personnel demography, greater scrutiny and wider demands on the service it delivers to the community. Technology is rapidly advancing with information being readily available and expectations are more demanding for an instant solution."

Further details on the Irish Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) conference are available from www.corkcityfirebrigade.ie/cfoa2013 or www.cfoa.net.

Other speakers scheduled to address the two-day conference include Sean Hogan, Director, National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (Ireland); Des Prichard, Chief Fire Officer & Chief Executive of East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service (UK); Paul Boissonneault, Fire Chief and C.E.M.C. in the County of Brant in South Western Ontario (Canada); Tore Eriksson, President of the International Association of Fire and Rescue and Vincent Carrigy, Fire Safety System Auditor (Ireland).