Established in 2007, IVECO MAGIRUS Fire Fighter Academy so far offered primarily a wide range of manifold training opportunities for firemen "on the ground". Now, with the 1st International Forest Fire Symposium in Chambéry / France, there took place the first event at senior management level - with a hot topic and resounding success. It has become very clear in recent years that global warming has also led to a dramatic increase in the risk of forest fires and other extensive blazes. It is high time therefore to address this global subject equally internationally at the level of fire brigades and services.
The strength of interest in transnational discussions, solution approaches and networks is shown by the list of participants of the 1st International Forest Fire Symposium: At the congress centre Le Manège in Chambéry - the generously dimensioned venue of the two-day conference - more than 200 senior fire managers and officers from a total of 22 countries assembled for this conference. The event was opened by Roel Nizet, General Manager of IVECO MAGIRUS Fire Fighting. The following welcome address by Walter Egger, President of the Technical Committee of the International association of fire and rescue service (CTIF) gave a clear description of the problem and encouraged everyone to look jointly for solutions.
During the first day, the focus of the meeting was on the organizational, strategic and conceptional aspects of forest fire fighting. Contributions by a total of 10 well-known international forest fire experts, amongst others from France, Austria, Greece and Germany, elucidated the efforts of the various countries as well as of the different fire brigades and services and provided many approaches for exchanges of information across countries and continents. All contributions were interpreted simultaneously in four languages.
On the second day five speakers from Italy, Chile and the USA provided most interesting insights into how forest fire fighting is organized in their respective countries. Naturally, "theory" was subsequently followed by "practice". This involved of course being adequately equipped with modern vehicle and fire extinction technology. On the works premises of IVECO MAGIRUS Fire Fighting Camiva, the specialist for forest fire fighting vehicles within the IVECO MAGIRUS Fire Fighting Group, an impressive vehicle presentation took place. Here, a wide range of different chassis variants and weight categories, in particular for forest fire fighting vehicles, were presented. It was also possible to go on a tour of our French plant. The fire extinction presentation in the open air, where a unit of the Savoy Fire Brigade Department presented the sequence of an efficient forest fire fighting operation, was absolutely convincing. The symposium was rounded off by a very varied, interesting framework program, which the participants again utilized for an informal but highly intensive exchange of information and ideas.
The extensive interest shown ahead of the conference as well as during the three days on site confirms IVECO MAGIRUS in its resolve and endeavour to continue to establish further the Fire Fighter Academy as a platform for communication and network formation. The next symposium is already in preparation for 2009.