NVFC Chairman Participates in Disaster Response Conference in Austria

National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg attended a conference of “Project VOICE – Voluntary Work in Disaster Management” in Austria in late November 2014. The trip was arranged by the U.S. Embassy in Vienna and provided the NVFC an opportunity to participate in an idea and information exchange with Austrian disaster response leaders. The conference addressed the challenges faced by disaster management volunteers due to climate change.
The vast majority of Austria’s firefighters are volunteers. Emergency medical services are provided separately by the Red Cross, although ambulances are predominantly staffed by volunteers as well. Some of these ambulance volunteers first join to complete mandatory public service requirements, although many end up staying on as long-term volunteers.
The conference took place at the Lower Austria Fire Service Training Facility in Tulln. Stittleburg presented on the American fire service and NVFC initiatives, as well as participated in a work group focusing on volunteer recruitment and retention. While in Austria, Stittleburg also met with leaders from the Vienna Fire Department, participated in discussions on climate change studies and global impact, and toured the Red Cross station at Purkersdorf-Gablitz.
“I enjoyed the opportunity to share the United States perspective with my colleagues in Austria and am grateful to the embassy for making this exchange possible,” Stittleburg said.
Photo courtesy of Richard Berger, facebook.com/feuerwehr.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy Vienna.