UK’s Emergency Services Show 2022 by Jo Nieman, ARFF South Africa
British science fiction writer Arthur C Clarke once said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" and this was my first impression of the Emergency Services Show 2022 from the moment I stepped through the doors, absolute magic! Too often I have attended emergency services trade shows and left feeling like it was just another copy and paste exercise of the year before, but I can honestly say I was like a sweet-toothed kid in a candy store at that this year’s Emergency Services Show (ESS2022) that was held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Not just magical but surprisingly impressive and catered for all first responders from police, emergency medical to fire and rescue and various volunteer organisations such as sea rescue or search and rescue NGOs.
To place focus on just one aspect of this year’s show would be doing all the others an injustice as there truly was a something for everyone there representing a wide range of international manufacturers and service providers, however, I would say that a great deal of attention this year was given to the electric vehicle and drone industry followed closely by the IT industry showing off the latest in artificial intelligence and tactical command and control platforms such as ACANS by Airbox and Airbus Defence and Space with their latest SAFEcommand and Agnet situational awareness solutions for emergency services.
Now, I regard myself as someone who is at the forefront of technology and innovation but I was superbly impressed to see how the emergency services world as we know it is rapidly moving into the electric vehicle and drone space along with the latest in artificial intelligence.
ESS2022 most certainly reflected this trend with a stable full of the latest response cars from the likes of Ford electric, Rosenbauer and various support services such Auto Electrical Services and DMS Technologies who showed off many of the lights and siren conversions they had done to various EV’s and yes even a Tesla.
What also truly blew me away again was Rosenbauer and Emergency One’s electric fire engine products, proudly displayed by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Services along with the likes of Lukas and Holmatro’s electric rescue tools and even a battery powered search and rescue tracked ground unit by Magirus.
MSA was well represented at the show as one of the main sponsors to many of the professional seminars that offered a wide range of topics from the latest in health and wellbeing of First Responders or how to transform your department by utilising emerging technologies and the digital transformation required to holistically improve efficiency and operational effectiveness of emergency response.
Finally, there were the incredible networking opportunities and contacts I made and have already taken full advantage of, not to mention bumping into a couple of old colleagues from South Africa and sharing a coffee or two to talk about the good old days.
I will most certainly be attending next year's Emergency Services Show and I’m already looking forward to the wonders of technology and innovative new products that I hope to find on offer.