The motto draws attention to two key aspects now shaping the future of the sector: the use of innovative digital solutions and increased collaboration among the many professional organizations and institutions involved. INTERSCHUTZ is the world's No. 1 event for the sectors it covers, and is unique in giving full coverage to cross-disciplinary interplay between the firefighting services, fire protection bodies, rescue services and civil protection organizations. The next INTERSCHUTZ will be staged in Hannover, Germany, from 15 to 20 June 2020.
"Our chosen motto is designed to sharpen INTERSCHUTZ's profile as an exhibition rich in innovations," said Dr. Andreas Gruchow as the responsible member of Deutsche Messe's Managing Board. "INTERSCHUTZ 2020 will be on the very cusp of today's hottest developments. It will also cover all the many challenges arising from the world's continually evolving emergency and disaster scenarios, and will showcase the new technologies needed to cope with them."
Today's challenges are considerable: terrorist acts, major man-made and natural disasters, unexpected failure of vital infrastructure and unprecedented refugee streams all require the collaboration of more and more highly-trained specialists. INTERSCHUTZ is the ideal platform for discussion on these challenges because it brings together professionals from all the relevant disciplines, including the firefighting, fire protection, rescue, safety and security services, enabling them to share knowledge with their international peers and broaden their networks.
The call for interconnectedness has gained a lot of ground across all the sectors represented at INTERSCHUTZ: "Firefighting has always been a team effort which leverages the best available technology and situation-dependent tactics to protect and save human lives, property and the environment. It's only with the right combination of these individual cogs – manpower, technology and tactics – that fire crews can achieve utmost performance," explained Hartmut Ziebs, President of the German Fire Services Association. "Society is undergoing rapid change, and we've seen the rise of new technologies – especially digital technologies – which have been evolving at a breathtaking pace. That's why it's incumbent on us, the fire services, to keep up with developments, just as we have been doing for the past 200 years or so."
Dirk Aschenbrenner, President of the German Fire Protection Association, supports this view: "To us, interconnection is much more than just a buzzword. We are fully aware that seamless integration and teamwork is essential to boosting the effectiveness of our rescue service, fire prevention and disaster protection efforts. And that holds true both for control centers and field operations."
New technologies are opening up myriad new options and ways of preventing and coping with crises and hazards. However, success hinges on more than just having the latest technology. It also needs to be deployed in a well-coordinated and proper way. "Digital technology is the key to making this happen, whether we're talking about satellite-based navigation to the incident site, instant access to local area, buildings and rescue plan info, radio communications and telemedicine," Aschenbrenner added. "That's why the new INTERSCHUTZ motto is right on mark. Only if we acknowledge the inextricably interconnected nature of teams, tactics and technology can we achieve our paramount goal: making the world a safer place."
Of course, a favorable climate for investment is another important factor, and in the words of Bernd Scherer, executive board member of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) and CEO of the VDMA's firefighting technology association, this is currently the case: "Since German municipal authorities are in good financial shape, our fire services are investing heavily in innovative technologies. This is benefiting all parts of the industry, from fire truck manufacturers to specialist equipment providers. We are also delighted to report buoyant demand from our export markets, which testifies once again to our industry's reputation for innovation and quality. We are very excited about the next edition of INTERSCHUTZ in 2020, not least because the fair is an important indicator of where the global industry is heading."
The new INTERSCHUTZ motto will highlight and explore a wide variety of issues, for instance the fact that increased technical integration goes hand in hand with dependence on the technologies used, thus increasing the risk of failure and complications in crisis situations. Or the question of how to enable societies to better cope with major crises. Clearly, raising public awareness of the potential threats and implementing resilience-enhancing measures will go a long way towards addressing these issues. And here, too, integration has a major role to play. After all, to be truly effective, the various emergency management and disaster relief agencies involved in a major crisis need to act in a coordinated way before and during the incident, both with respect to their communications and the technologies they use.