Hannover. INTERSCHUTZ isn't like other shows. The international mega-event doesn't open its gates for another year, but the pre-show preparations are already on the home straight, with exhibition space bookings currently running at a massive 92 percent of 2015 levels. The show will feature numerous conferences, forums and contests, and the participating companies and first-responder organizations are making increasingly detailed plans about what they will be showing and offering visitors. Amid all of the excitement and anticipation, the advice to exhibitors and visitors alike is this: it pays – literally – to plan early.
"There's a palpable air of excitement around INTERSCHUTZ, and it's building by the minute," said Martin Folkerts, Global Director INTERSCHUTZ at Deutsche Messe. "It is a real thrill to be organizing an event that is so important to an entire industry and which means so much, both at a business and an emotional level. Everyone's really putting their heart and soul into INTERSCHUTZ." Which is all the more reason for participants to start planning early. "People really should be making their hotel and bed & breakfast bookings now," Folkerts said. "Other options may involve leveraging contacts with fire departments and other first-responder organizations in the Hannover region or using our mobile home park." Located in Laatzen, right next-door to the exhibition venue, the park has 400 berths for trailers and motor homes that are available to be booked right now. Admission tickets for INTERSCHUTZ will be available from November on – just in time for the Christmas shopping season.
The main display categories at INTERSCHUTZ 2020 are Fire Fighting, Fire Prevention, Rescue Services, Civil Protection, Communication & Control Center Solutions, and Protective Equipment. For the very first time in the show's history, there will be an overarching theme that will underlie and bring together all the various exhibitions and the supporting program. It's "Teams, Tactics, Technology – Connected for Protection and Rescue" and it is a call to action to discuss and embrace the opportunities and challenges of digital transformation and the connective power of dialogue and exchange among the participating actors from many different organizations.
There have been a number of significant changes since the last show, in 2015. Apart from a more transparent site layout, these include a better mix of industrial companies and first-responder organizations, or, in INTERSCHUTZ parlance, commercial and non-commercial exhibitors. On this score, the organizers and INTERSCHUTZ partner the German Fire Protection Association (GFPA) are well advanced in their negotiations with key sector associations and first-responder organizations. As a result, more than 70 non-commercial exhibitors have already been confirmed and assigned exhibition spaces in the halls – spaces in signposted theme areas that accurately reflect their services and sectors. This means visitors will be able to head to the theme areas of interest to them and find all the relevant providers conveniently grouped at the one location.
As well as the exhibition stands, INTERSCHUTZ 2020 will feature a richly varied program of events. The big highlights here include the 29th German Firefighting Convention, which will be staged in tandem with INTERSCHUTZ in downtown Hannover and at the Hannover Exhibition Center. The German Fire Services Association (DFV), also an INTERSCHUTZ partner, will be running a whole range of events on the sidelines of the convention. The convention will be opened at a reception hosted by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also expected to put in an appearance at the event. "Sicherheit.Leben" (Safety.Life) is the motto of an international conference which will cover key future challenges, such as climate change, facing the fire services. There will also be a concert for fire service personnel at the exhibition center. Members of the public will be able see first-hand the enormous diversity of the fire services at a multi-day street showcase in downtown Hannover. In keeping with the keynote theme for next year's INTERSCHUTZ, the group pavilion organized by the German Fire Services Association and its various partners at INTERSCHUTZ will put the spotlight on collaboration and integration across national borders. The 29th German Firefighting Convention is being organized in collaboration with the State of Lower Saxony, the Lower Saxony Firefighters Association, the City of Hannover and the Hannover Fire Department.
There will also be excitement and adrenalin aplenty, thanks to the action-packed program on the outdoor demonstration site, the smokejumping demonstration, the height rescue contest, and events like the Holmatro Extrication Challenge. Rounding off the INTERSCHUTZ offering will be numerous events featuring high-caliber speakers, such as the Hannover Emergency Care Symposium run by St. John Ambulance, the Civil Protection Symposium and the International Summit for Rescue and Emergency Services.
Three days of next year's show will be devoted to particular countries: on Tuesday the spotlight will be on France, on Wednesday Italy will be in the limelight, and on Thursday the USA will take center stage.