NOTE: This information is from a previously printed press release, newsletter, or other dated document. It is presented here for archival purposes only.

NORTHBROOK, Ill., September 19, 2008 — In a unique six-day conference, fire service leaders from around the world will gather in Chicago and Washington D.C. to share best practices, sharpen their management and leadership skills and discuss life safety issues facing the fire industry today. The Global Fire Service Leadership Conference, presented by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a product safety testing organization, will be the first of its kind. The event will start in Chicago on Sept. 21 – 24, and continue in Washington D.C. until Sept. 26. The conference will attract leading fire experts and industry leaders from more than 19 countries.

"The reality is that regardless of where you live, accidental death and property loss from fires or natural disasters are global concerns; materials and products found in our homes or buildings burn in the same manner in Chicago, Beijing, New York, Delhi, Buenos Aires, and every city in between." said Chris Hasbrook, vice president and general manager of UL’s Global Fire Sector. "The challenges faced by fire fighters around the world often share more commonality than we realize. The wealth of knowledge these leaders exchange may eventually keep us all safer from fire and disaster."

Developed and fully sponsored by UL, the conference provides fire service leaders from some of the largest jurisdictions in the world the opportunity to share best practices and return home with a global perspective on the issues that most commonly wreak havoc and endanger lives in fire, disaster and emergency situations.

The week-long schedule will include both classroom sessions and hands-on training. Scheduled events include:

  • Participation in incident management exercises with the Chicago Fire Department, Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Washington D.C. Fire Department;
  • Presentations on the latest groundbreaking research projects from National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and UL; and
  • Panel discussions on life safety issues led by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Global fire service leaders confirmed to attend represent Argentina (Argentina), Brazil (San Paulo), Canada (Ottawa), China (Hong Kong), France (Paris), Germany (Frankfurt), India (Delhi, Mumbai), Indonesia (Jakarta), Italy (Rome), Japan (Tokyo), South Korea (Seoul), Mexico (Mexico City), Nigeria (Lagos), Qatar (Doha), Singapore, South Africa (Johannesburg), United Arab Emirates (Dubai), United States (Phoenix, San Francisco, District of Columbia, Chicago, Chelmsford, New York City, Columbus, Janesville, and New Orleans) and Viet Nam (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City).

"The International Association of Fire Chiefs strongly supports this conference because it offers a unique opportunity to share best practices from around the world," said IAFC Executive Director Mark W. Light, CAE. "We are pleased that many of the IAFC leaders will participate, and we anticipate new synergies on a global level as a result of their work with their international counterparts at this conference."

One specific Chicago event features fire chiefs from Mexico, Hong Kong, India, Nigeria and South Africa visiting Chicago Public School students at five elementary schools in ethnically diverse neighborhoods on Wednesday, Sept. 24. During the visits, fire chiefs will discuss fire safety awareness in their native languages with Chicago residents from their native countries. The schools the fire service leaders will visit include Perez Elementary, Haines Elementary, Volta Elementary, Canter Middle School, and Lincoln Elementary.