There’s still time to sign up for the annual Aerial Firefighting Conference sponsored by Helicopter Association International (HAI). This year’s event is virtual—and free!—making it easy for aerial firefighters around the world to attend.
The conference will take place Nov. 17–18, with sessions beginning at 4:00 pm eastern (UTC-5). Each day, HAI will present four to five hours of programming from leaders of the international aerial firefighting industry, including Australia, Chile, Spain, and the United States. Registration for this event closes November 10.
After beginning with an hour-long general session, each day of the conference splits into concurrent tracks to allow attendees to focus on specific interests, such as firefighting equipment and technology, operations, safety, and careers. Sessions are recorded so attendees can view the presentations at their convenience and catch up on what they’ve missed.
“Traditionally, this was an in-person event held near the end of fire season in the Northern Hemisphere. The conference was usually well attended, but it focused primarily on US operations,” says James Viola, president and CEO of HAI. “Registrations for this modified virtual event have more than doubled with about 600 registrants from around the world.
“When it became apparent that we couldn’t meet in person this year, we immediately began to plan to expand the 2020 conference to meet the needs of the global firefighting community. For example, we’ve scheduled sessions for late afternoon and evening, our time, so we can reach as many international firefighters as possible. We’ve also reached out to include more international voices.”
HAI extends its gratitude to the conference presenters, who are donating their time for the benefit of the international firefighting community. “Just as everyone supports one another on the fire lines, we’re pleased that so many experts in this field are willing to share their knowledge and experience with others,” adds Viola.
“We are also grateful for our industry sponsors,” finishes Viola. “These companies make it possible for us to offer the event at no cost to the participants.”
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