CBRNe Convergence 201109 December 2011 1
November 1-3 2011 saw the Fourth Annual CBRNe Convergence held in Istanbul, Turkey; bringing together the leading group of first responders of 2011. Thirty two different countries, from Singapore and India through to UAE and Russia, as well as the US and Canada, took their seats to hear from some of the best CBRN practitioners and thinkers available.
The event started on the first with the pre-conference workshop on wearable technologies. The session was chaired by Smart Garment People’s CEO, Cath Rogan, and had presentations from those individuals with developments in wearable protection technology – such as Blucher, Trelleborg, Zephyr, d30, P2i and Interactive wear.
The Workshop ended as the first part of the Conference began – the ice-breaker! This brought hundreds of people into the Askeri Muse, the Turkish Military Museum, and host for the next two days. As opposed to many bland conference hotels the main plenary floor was a 700 seater half-amphitheatre, which was also home to the world famous Mehta – or Janissary – Band. The Janissary band is one of the world’s oldest bands, and used to drive the armies of the Ottoman Sultan – when he was the scourge of Europe and Iran - before it, and as a taste of their capability, and to waken those that thought they could snooze, they opened the Conference. Unfortunately, the Turkish Government Minister that had been expected to open was, as were many members of AFAD, the Turkish Disaster Recovery and CBRN force, dealing with the earthquake that had happened the week before in Van, East of Turkey. As you might expect the earthquake cast a long shadow over the event, with local delegate numbers down as they responded to an event far more pressing than a conference! Nothing perturbed however, the conference started with presentations from the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defence (JPEO CBD), DGA, and Joint Task Force Civil Support (JTF-CS).
Delegates also had the chance to visit the largest CBRNE exhibition in Europe this year, with over 50 exhibitors from 10 different countries, offering everything from medical countermeasures through to respirators and robots. Indeed the Conference was well supported with sponsors for the drinks reception, coffee, lunch, workshop, DVD and bag. As well as commercial companies, the conference was also supported by government agencies such as Dugway Proving Ground and the JPEO CBD
Despite attendance being down on last year – a combination of global economic recession, US Federal budget, and local incidents (i. an earthquake!) – the event was seen to be a success with over 75% of delegates marking the overall event as good or excellent (four or five out of five) and the pre-conference organisation and venue at the 85% mark (as good or excellent):
“An excellent conference with good balance between academic and exhibition inputs,”
“Another great show… great contacts. Looking forward to future events,”
“I have been in the Hague, Orlando and Istanbul. At all Convergences there was a good mix of topics, go on like this,”
“I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to thank you all personally for another great convergence. I loved the museum venue and the services were excellent, especially the Wi-Fi access.”