Views and Visions: Posts from our People

Chief Executive Officer


NFPA Exhibition
NFPA Exhibition

International insight into fire protection

I was fortunate enough, earlier this month, to travel to Boston to attend the National Fire Protection Association Annual Conference and Expo. I spent most of my time in the wildfire streams. The reason I was there was because the FireWise team at NFPA, together with the NFPA Research Foundation, wanted to explore wildfire research topics with a group of international experts. I was invited from Australia, with representatives also present from South Africa, Canada, Chile, the UK, and Spain.

The NFPA conference and expo is a big event, with more than 300 exhibitors and around 3000 attendees across the many concurrent streams. It was a great opportunity to hear and learn from the insights of CALFIRE, with a renewed focus on prevention in the light of the impacts of drought and climate change. We also heard from the Canadians on what were the characteristics that led to house survival in the Fort McMurray fire.

The research workshop was notable in that all countries are dealing with an increase in the risk and impacts of climate change, with what used to be rare events are now the new normal. There was much talk about the generic approaches of FireWise and its applicability more generally. I think that most countries that have embraced it have modified it to meet their own needs. This make a lot of sense, with the broader landscape in which assets at risk need to be considered. Although FireWise is not used in Australia, many of our approaches are similar in many ways.

Although brief, it was a worthwhile trip, with a re-establishment of old friendships and an agreement to continue the discussions.

I cannot leave this blog without acknowledging the great losses we saw over the last few weeks, both in the Grenfell tower fire in London, and in the devastating bushfire in Portugal earlier this week. Our thoughts at the CRC are with all the family and friends of those affected. 

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