CFS hosts Australasia's largest emergency management conference

CFS appliances at AFAC

Following the devastating 2019-20 bushfire season, floods across the eastern coast of Australia and the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency management personnel from across the country will have the opportunity to reflect, share learnings and new ideas at AFAC22 — Australasia’s largest emergency management conference and exhibition.

Playing a vital role in helping to protect communities during these tragic events, the South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS) is proud to be a host agency of AFAC22, being held at the Adelaide Convention Centre from Tuesday 23 August to Friday 26 August.

With the theme ‘Connecting communities. Creating resilience.’, it is the first time the conference has been held since 2019, and will provide an opportunity for the industry to “lift” one another following the challenges of the past three years, Brett Loughlin, Assistant Chief Officer said.

“In this industry, even though each state or agency has its nuances, we’re fundamentally dealing with the same challenges and hazards. By coming together and sharing our ideas about best practice, we can all lift one another."

“It’s all in the spirit of collaboration and cooperation…there is a real sense of comradery between us.”

New QRV at AFAC22

One of the many CFS vehicles on display at AFAC22

As one of the host agencies of AFAC22, several representatives from the CFS will be presenting on their industry-leading community engagement work.

These presentations include:

  • ‘Listening and Learning on Kangaroo Island: supporting community resilience through post-emergency engagement’ by Peta O’Donohue, Manager Partners, Research and Program Development
  • ‘Community risk reduction, can we do better? A systematic review of South Australian Country Fire Service’s community programs and initiatives’ by Karla Billington, Project Manager, Community Risk Reduction; and
  • ‘Building for resilient communities, a case study on the physical impact of Kangaroo Island and Cudlee Creek bushfires’ by Leah Bertholini, Acting Manager Development Assessment Service.

“The CFS has a mature community engagement program in place, and we’re always looking at new research and methodology,” Mr Loughlin said.

“The presentation by Peta is tied to an exciting piece of work we did with the community on Kangaroo Island post-fires about how we can support them, bring people together and ensure we’re delivering information the community needs.

“Karla is sharing the findings from a review of our community risk reduction processes, and how we can target our communication and engagement activities to get our message across in an efficient and effective way.

“Leah is well regarded nationally in the development assessment space, and her presentation focuses on some research we undertook post the 2019-20 fires on the impact of fires on buildings.”

Another highlight of the conference is the Exhibition Hall, where emergency services agencies can showcase their equipment to both attendees, and members of the public.

For the CFS, this includes its state-of-the-art safety gear, and a fleet of new vehicles, which are among the best in the world.

“We’d love to see members of the public attend… it’s a great opportunity to see the gear and equipment, and learn how emergency services work,” Mr Loughlin said.

Host Agency stand at AFAC22

CFS' stand at the AFAC22 conference

“At Stand #100 in the Exhibition Hall we’ll be showcasing our fleet design and a number of new vehicles in operation across the state.

“The CFS is keeping up well with national and international standards and best practice. Some of the gear is up to the best global standards, being used by the biggest fire services around the world."

“In fact, some of our uniforms and equipment are the same as those in use by major international fire services – like the London Fire Brigade.”

“This gives me a lot of confidence around what we’re doing in SA…we have a lot to be proud of.”

For more information about the AFAC22 Conference, including the presentations being delivered by CFS staff, visit

27 April 2023