Conference Theme and Call for Abstracts

WAFA Con­fer­ence 2023

Sus­tain­ing Diversity

WAFA23 | Sus­tain­ing Diversity

Much work has been done in the past 30 years to increase the recruit­ment of women to the fire and emer­gency ser­vices, but the pro­por­tion of women in spe­cial­ist and senior roles remains low. How do we sup­port and empow­er women to plan and advance their careers in the sec­tor? How do we bring diver­si­ty to all areas and lev­els of the sector?

The chal­lenges of the increas­ing risk and impact of dis­as­ters and the oppor­tu­ni­ties of chang­ing approach­es to emer­gency man­age­ment and tech­ni­cal inno­va­tion are cre­at­ing new roles and mind­sets. Fire and emer­gency ser­vices need diverse rep­re­sen­ta­tion and diverse view­points to effec­tive­ly rep­re­sent and respond to com­mu­ni­ty needs. How do we grow and sus­tain a work­place cul­ture that is safe and inclu­sive for all?

WAFA23 Sup­port­ing Topics

The WAFA Board is call­ing for abstracts for pre­sen­ta­tions that will share research, pro­grams and case stud­ies that will inspire del­e­gates to sus­tain and grow diver­si­ty in their careers and organ­i­sa­tions. You are invit­ed to sub­mit abstracts under one or more of the fol­low­ing sup­port­ing topics.

WAFA23 | Sus­tain­ing Diversity

Diverse work­force

Attract­ing, retain­ing and pro­mot­ing women in the diverse range of roles in the fire and emer­gency ser­vices such as career fire­fight­ers, vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers, on-call fire­fight­ers, project fire­fight­ers, spon­ta­neous vol­un­teers, admin­is­tra­tion and sup­port per­son­nel, indus­tri­al brigades, defence fire­fight­ers, avi­a­tion fire­fight­ers, and emer­gency managers.

What are the bar­ri­ers, what are the oppor­tu­ni­ties? Have you research or expe­ri­ence to share in explor­ing issues like bias, inter­sec­tion­al­i­ty, per­son­al pro­tec­tive equip­ment or gen­der pay gaps?

Diverse careers

Once some­one has joined the fire ser­vice and gained basic fire­fight­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tions, there are many pos­si­ble path­ways to a diverse and reward­ing career. Are there uncon­scious bias­es or sys­temic bar­ri­ers dis­cour­ag­ing women and diverse groups from access­ing spe­cial­ist posi­tions and devel­op­ment opportunities? 

How do we pro­mote diver­si­ty and inclu­sion in the range of oppor­tu­ni­ties such as:

  • Res­cue, haz­mat, med­ical, avi­a­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and dispatch
  • Fire engi­neer­ing, fire inves­ti­ga­tion, research
  • Dis­as­ter prepa­ra­tion, plan­ning, response and recov­ery, com­mu­ni­ty engage­ment, resilience-building
  • Inci­dent man­age­ment, emer­gency man­age­ment, intel­li­gence, analysis
  • Inter­state and over­seas deploy­ments, human­i­tar­i­an assistance

Career plan­ning

How do peo­ple plan, and organ­i­sa­tions sup­port, career plan­ning and pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment in the fire and emer­gency sector?

  • Lead­er­ship at all lev­els, from the brigade to the board­room, and for all work­ers from the spon­ta­neous vol­un­teer to the career officer
  • Pro­gres­sion and pro­mo­tion pro­grams, fast track, exec­u­tive track
  • Attract­ing women to a career in emer­gency ser­vices, youth pro­grams, cadet­ships, apprenticeships
  • Net­work­ing, men­tor­ing, alter­na­tive path­ways, tech­ni­cal and high­er education

Health and wellbeing

Health and well­be­ing are key areas of con­cern for emer­gency ser­vices. Are the needs of diverse groups being addressed?

  • Inclu­sion of women and diverse groups in fire­fight­er health and well­be­ing research
  • Alter­nate duties dur­ing and return to work after pregnancy
  • Fit­ness, lifestyle, life/​work bal­ance, flex­i­ble work arrangements
  • Men­tal health and wellbeing

Abstract sub­mis­sions are now open. 

Abstract portal

Abstract nom­i­na­tions close Mon­day 13th February

Abstract Selec­tion Process

Abstract sub­mis­sions for WAFA23 are open to all, includ­ing career staff, vol­un­teers, researchers and aca­d­e­mics, indus­try, com­mu­ni­ty and all lev­els of gov­ern­ment. The sub­mis­sion and selec­tion process is as fol­lows, and please ensure you have the approval and sup­port from your agency before sub­mit­ting an abstract:

STAGE 1: Authors are invit­ed to lodge a per­son­al sub­mis­sion, a sub­mis­sion on a col­league’s behalf, or a sub­mis­sion on behalf of their organ­i­sa­tion, address­ing the rel­e­vant theme and top­ics. An author can sub­mit mul­ti­ple abstracts for con­sid­er­a­tion by the Con­fer­ence Com­mit­tee. Sub­mis­sions open on Novem­ber 22, 2022 and require writ­ten respons­es which can be uploaded via the online sub­mis­sion sys­tem.

STAGE 2: Sub­mis­sions must be lodged online and com­plet­ed by Mon­day, Feb­ru­ary 6, 2023.

STAGE 3: Sub­mis­sions will be reviewed by the Pro­gram Com­mit­tee who will assess each sub­mis­sion. The Com­mit­tee will score each sub­mis­sion based on its rel­e­vance to the over­all con­fer­ence theme and the top­ic being addressed.

STAGE 4: Sub­mis­sions are assessed and short­list­ed, and the final oral pre­sen­ters are select­ed by the Pro­gram Com­mit­tee — these will then be endorsed by the Steer­ing Com­mit­tee on April 4, 2023.

STAGE 5: Authors who have been suc­cess­ful in being grant­ed an oral pre­sen­ta­tion and/​or poster pre­sen­ta­tion will be noti­fied as soon as pos­si­ble fol­low­ing endorse­ment from the Steer­ing Com­mit­tee.

STAGE 6: Authors must accept their offer by April 28, 2023. Fol­low­ing the accep­tance of the offer, speak­ers agree to reg­is­ter to attend the Con­fer­ence and pro­vide the fol­low­ing:

  • An oral pre­sen­ta­tion (if applic­a­ble) includ­ing accom­pa­ny­ing Pow­er­Point slides (event tem­plate will be dis­trib­uted accordingly)
  • A high res­o­lu­tion head-shot and 200 word bio to be emailed to info@​afacconference.​com.​au
  • A pre-recorder ver­sion of your final pre­sen­ta­tion for con­tin­gency purposes