The Seminar Opening: "Fire, Rescue & New Challenges" has officially opened
There was a full house at the Pullman Center in Brussels when the CTIF Seminar "Fire, Rescue & New Challenges" opened on Friday morning.
The seminar guests were welcomed by the "Seminar General", major Tom Van Esbroeck, and the opening speech was held by the Director General of the Civil Security department of the Belgian Ministry of Home Affairs, Jèrôme Glorie.
The CTIF President Tore Eriksson then continued to show some examples of new challenges - near death incidents for first responders - in fire & rescue involving electric and hybrid cars.
Text, photos & videos by CTIF Communications Coordinator Björn Ulfsson
The first speaker was Dr Ivana Kruijff-Korbayová. (Photo above) Her lecture was about her work to investigate human-robot teamwork and develop technology for robot-assisted disaster response. Her work has especially been developed for USAR in earthquake zones.
Then followed a lecture by Seminar Sponsor XVR about Firefighting Virtual Reality Training. You can see a short clip of the equipment being demonstrated, along with an operational Rescue Drone, in the video above here in this article.
The morning sessions then continued after the break by a lecture by Mark Bokdam, Head of the Netherlands Rescue Drone Program.
The sessions before lunch concluded with a lecture by Michael Friedmann from Rosenbauer, who spoke about the latest development on their Concept Fire Truck project, which the invention of a fully Electric Fire Truck.
Below follows the Opening Speech by the Director General of the Civil Security department of the Belgian Ministry of Home Affairs, Jèrôme Glorie:
"Ladies and Gentlemen, fellow firefighters and civil servants,
It is an honour for me to open this seminar today, a seminar focused on Innovation, Technology and New Challenges in Fire & Rescue.
Being the director general of the Civil Security department at the Ministry of Home Affairs in Belgium, the subject of Innovation is very close to my heart.
Innovation – for the most part – is usually a good thing. For the Fire & Rescue services, innovation over the years has brought safer firefighting equipment, better extinguishing agents and new methods of rescuing victims from dangerous situations
Here at our Ministry of Home Affairs in Belgium, we have recently invested in search and rescue drones, and also in operational robots for reconnaissance , which you will see in our very interesting demonstration later on during this two day seminar.
Innovation is happening everywhere, not just in Fire and Rescue, and it is inevitable – we cannot stop it even if we wanted to to – it is human nature to want to improve and build.
Innovation in this day and age is also necessary – climate change, our growing world population, an ever increasing demands for energy – makes it necessary for our very survival as a human race, to always continue to innovate.
However – as all of you know – innovation also comes with new problems – or perhaps I should call them ”challenges” – because first responders never see problems – only a way forward, or people could die. Sometimes lots of people will die, when mistakes are made in fire & rescue.
That is why you always try so hard to never make them!
Saving victims and protecting property is your calling, that is what you do.
But what about the firefighters themselves – could innovation bring some problems and challenges for the First Responders?
Not everyone knows that an electric car could create a much larger fire than a conventional gasoline or diesel car.
Not everyone knows that a hybrid or propane car could cause an explosion – like we've seen in this video – explosions that are worse than in the action movies!
The public would very likely be terrified if they knew that a propane gas tank – when it heats up in a vehicle fire – could shoot away like a cannonball and go straight through a wall, and land several kilometers away.
The public also don´t know, that their new environmental cars could be very dangerous for the firefighters if they are not marked properly as an electric car.
If a firefighter makes just one mistake cutting the frame in the wrong place, they could be struck by an electric shock of very high voltage.
So when we talk about Innovation – I would urge everyone always - in the same sentence - to also mention Education.
Because with New Technology also comes new Risks – not only to the public, but to those who Serve and Protect us all.
All this being said; I am especially proud today to be able to open this seminar here in Belgium, where so much has been done for innovation, especially in the field of New Vehicles and Victim Extrication, and I am even more proud to do this in cooperation with CTIF – The International Association of Fire Services.
I leave you with these words, and now it is my pleasure to introduce Mr Tore Eriksson, President of CTIF."