Conferences & Workshops

1. Workshop on 14th of October in Athens “Lessons learned” from forest fires of summer 2003 in Europe

         ECFF organized a workshop on “European Planning and Policies for Forest Fires”, on the 14th of October 2003, in Athens. The workshop aimed at identifying the causes of the devastating large-scale forest fires of summer 2003 in Europe. It also aimed at extracting important lessons for coping with forest fires. Speakers presented their views and attendees worked to determine future actions which will reduce devastating consequences of forest fires. The discussions attempted to address the following questions:

  • What are the causes of having such large scale forest fires
  • How we can reinforce assistance exchange?
  • How we can use state of the art technologies during crisis management?
  • How we cope with severely burned people?
  • Is European co-ordination of assistance possible?

Proceedings have been published in FFNet 2 (ECFF publication)

2. Teleconference entitled “Short and long term health impacts of forest fire smoke on the fire fighters and the exposed population” took place on the 31st of May 2005

      This teleconference was organized by the ECFF, which operates in the framework of Eur-OPA initiative of the Council of Europe. The main goal was to bring together scientists and operational people so that to define key aspects regarding forest fire smoke health impacts on population and firemen and also to propose further actions needed.Participants from Cyprus, France, Greece, Morocco and Portugal, as well as the Council of Europe contributed with their expertise and knowledge and also provided with opinions, know-how and recommendations. 

       A catalogue of ideas has been addressed with the prospect of future work on issues regarding: 

  • Forest fire smoke chemical synthesis, toxicology and possible health impacts
  • On-line monitoring of air quality in a forest fire
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) for the fire-fighters and population
  • Exposure limits to forest fire smoke components
  • Evacuation criteria, emphasizing on the sensitive groups of population

Please find more details in the third volume of the Forest Fire Net publication (FFNet 3 )

3. Workshop entitled “Air-quality monitoring in the field and personal protective equipment in big forest fire incidents: a state-of-the art and beyond”, took place in Paris, 12-13 of December 2005

       This workshop was organized by the ECFF within the framework of the Eur-OPA Major Hazards Agreement of the Council of Europe. It was meant to be a sampler of cutting-edge technologies for air-quality monitoring in emergency situations, in order to further elaborate the results of the Teleconference entitled: “Short and long term health impacts of forest fire smoke on the fire fighters and the exposed population”.


  • Air-quality monitoring in emergency situations as part of an Early Warning System
  • Field chemical analysis as a tool for on-line, fast and reliable detection of a hazardous environment
  • Multidisciplinary approaches and innovative methods for protecting the forest fire-fighters and the population from forest fire smoke impacts
  • Exposure limits and methods for exposure assessment
  • Risk assessment of forest fire smoke

Please find more details in the fourth volume of the Forest Fire Net publication FFNet 4

4. ECFF has collaborated with the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) for organizing a panel session entitled: “Air Pollution from Wildfires-Problems related to Fire Smoke Pollution, Human Health & Air Traffic/Aerial Firefighting Security".

        This session was organized in the framework of the Aerial Fire-fighting Conference” 21st - 22nd October 2008 Royal Olympic Hotel, Athens, Greece, organized by Tangent Link Ltd.
A number of scientists and experts participated in this panel session with the following presentations:

  • “Radioactive wildland fire smoke pollution and human security, by J.G. Goldammer”, Director GFMC
  • “Health impacts of wildfire smoke on possible receptors and recommended tools for copying with them”, by M. Statheropoulos, Director ECFF
  • “Northern California Fires of 2008", by Mr T. Harbour, Director USDA Forest Service Fire & Aviation Management
  • "Smoke from forest fires and visibility impairment", by Dr A. Miranda, University of Aveiro, Portugal
  • "Aerial Fire-fighting Security related to Fire Smoke Pollution" - Dr N. Kovalev & Dr A. Eritsov, National Aerial Forest Fire Center of Russia

       Operational people have also participated in the panel with comments, such as Mr Anthony Marrone Chief, Air Operations, Country of Los Angeles Fire Department (USA) and Colonel F. P. Villar, Commander of the 43rd Group, Spanish Air Force, Spain. During this session a number of issues have been discussed such as:

  • Acute, short-term and long-term health impacts of vegetation fire smoke (VFS) on ground personnel
  • Possible health impacts on aerial personnel
  • Early warning systems
  • On-line monitoring of air quality in the field-technologies
  • Radioactivity of vegetation fire smoke
  • Exposure to VFS- Exposure limits
  • Different levels of copying with VFS impacts
  • PPE
  • Visibility impairment
  • Cabin air-quality for aerial air-means
  • Case studies and lessons learned
  • Archives of episodes

5. Workshop on: "Human Rights in Disasters: Search and Rescue operations in disasters especially for vulnerable people", 5th and 6th of November 2009, Athens, Greece

       The workshop is organized by the Council of Europe (EUR-OPA), the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and the General Secretary of Civil Protection in Greece (ECFF/GSCP).

       Human rights in natural disasters and especially the search and rescue of vulnerable population groups (i.e. people with mobility, sight or hearing difficulties), is an issue that should be examined. Currently, this domain appears that suffers from the lack of procedures and specialized technologies. In an attempt to cope with existing gaps, a workshop is organized to discuss, exchange ideas and propose solutions.

       The workshop aims among others at developing a network of people and organizations that will encourage and reinforce solutions. Among the expected outputs is the identification of policies and strategies in order to increase the capabilities for coping with disasters, focusing on people with disabilities.

       More specifically, the workshop will be structured around the following major issues:

  • Human rights in disasters : An overview
  • What are the existing approaches - Identify the gaps - Define new requirements
  • How to search and rescue the elderly and people with disabilities (e.g. mobility problems, sight or hearing impairment); Enhancing emergency plans
  • Preparedness and preventive measures
  • Build a common understanding

6. Videoconference on “Recent Developments and Needs for Wildfire Fighting on the Ground:Tactics and Technologies”

       ECFF, in collaboration with the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and the FP7 project “Fire Retardant Hoses Lines for Forestry Fire-Fighting Applications- FIRELI (No 222152)” have joint efforts together with the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) and the United Nations University and co-organized an International video-conference entitled “Recent developments and needs for ground methods and tools for forest fire suppression” that took place on the 10th of June 2010.

      Main topics of the teleconference agenda were tactics and training in ground forest fire suppression, technologies and ground means used, as well as end-user requirements.

      The announcement of the event, as well as the presentations can be free downloaded here (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10).

7. Upcoming Events 2017

      In the framework of the project entitled “Basic Principles of Building Aseismic Code, Evacuation planning of critical infrastructures in case of an Earthquake or a Fire” the following activities will take place:
A Case Study focusing on the evacuation of a hospital in case of an earthquake or a fire. Special attention will be given to vulnerable groups, including infants, pregnant women and/or people with disabilities.
Expected results
      Indicative Fire Escape Plans will be prepared for a hospital in the line of “Universal Design”; the new proposed egress signs especially designed for people with disabilities (based on first year’s deliverable) will be integrated, in order to upgrade the existing escape plans of the hospital.