More than 100 delegates from across the country are due in the West Midlands for the annual conference of the Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA) this Wednesday and Thursday [13-14 Nov].

The event will explore a wide range of organisational and operational issues affecting firefighters and staff, with a main theme of 'Advancing equality during austerity'. There will also be a celebration of Diwali on the first evening.

Principal speakers will include Brandon Lewis (Under Secretary of State with responsibility for fire and resilience), Vij Randeniya (Chief Fire Officer for the West Midlands and President of the Chief Fire Officers' Association), Phil Loach (Assistant Chief Fire Officer, WMFS), plus prominent academics and representatives of the public and private sectors.

A series of workshops will also explore issues including equality and diversity in community engagement, the importance of inclusive leadership, and safeguarding vulnerable people.

CFO Randeniya said: "One of the key focuses for West Midlands Fire Service is embedding equality and diversity in everything we do - from how we operate as an employer, to how we serve and keep safe our minority communities and vulnerable residents.

"We're delighted to host the conference for the second time, and to welcome the delegates and an impressive line-up of speakers. We're very much looking forward to sharing some of our work with, and learning from, colleagues around the country."

Zahoor Ahmed, Chair of AFSA, added: "We're grateful to everyone who has made this year's conference possible, including the delegates, the speakers who are all giving their time free of charge, and our generous sponsors.

"AFSA is going from strength to strength. By its very nature, it's an inclusive association, which is reflected not only in our membership but in the wide range of people attending this year's event. Our two days of knowledge sharing and networking will benefit not only fire and rescue services and their communities, but several other organisations from the public and third sectors."

Fire stations throughout the West Midlands will host 'fringe' events to coincide with the AFSA conference, working with partner organisations to explore local challenges posed by inequalities in health and well-being and you can follow the event on Twitter with #afsaconf

Posted 13/11/2012 by