​​Technology vs Fire opens in Slovenia​

State Secretary Dejan Židan, Ministry of Economy, Tourism and Sport, EPO Examiner Gregor Zupancic, SIPO Director Karin Žvokelj, Mayor of the municipality of Sežana Andrej Sila.

State Secretary Dejan Židan, Ministry of Economy, Tourism and Sport, EPO Examiner Gregor Zupancic, SIPO Director Karin Žvokelj, Mayor of the municipality of Sežana Andrej Sila.

The exhibition Technology vs Fire was inaugurated yesterday in Kosovel Culture House in Sežana. Jointly organised by the Slovenian Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) and the European Patent Office (EPO), the free, immersive exhibition is open to the public until 21 April 2024. This is the second firefighting exhibition in a series designed to be displayed throughout Europe, with each version featuring local information and experts. The first exhibition in the series was on show last month in Athens.

Speaking at the opening, SIPO Director Karin Žvokelj said, "The exhibition offers a glimpse into the pervasive presence of intellectual property in our daily lives, particularly in critical domains like fire safety. We anticipate that it will shed light on the invaluable nature of innovation and underscore the imperative of safeguarding it for the common good. Our aspiration is that all attendees will depart with a heightened appreciation for innovation's role in enhancing safety and environmental welfare."

During the opening, patent examiner Gregor Zupancic spoke on behalf of the EPO and emphasised the role of technology and human ingenuity in tackling the threat of fires. "In the firefighting field where every second counts, we’re seeing dynamic developments in technology coming together at critical points – from prevention and protection, all the way to restoration. It’s clear that from the flames of disaster lie the embers of technological and human resilience. This is what this exhibition is all about."

The opening remarks were followed by a brief presentation of the exhibition and an engaging panel discussion by local experts who had contributed to its creation. In addition, a showcase of the heroic response to Slovenia's 2022 wildfire in was presented to Mr Zupancic by firefighting officials in the presence of the Mayor of Sežana, Mr Andrej Sila.

Vital role of technology and innovation 

The threat posed by forest fires to ecosystems, human life and the economy is substantial.  However, the capacity of human ingenuity offers a beacon of hope. Technology vs Fire provides an interactive experience highlighting the technology and innovation that protect the lives of firefighters, help to restore natural habitats and pave the way for a safer, more sustainable world.  

Slovenia has been especially hard hit by the recent increase in wildfires across Europe as a result of climate change. In 2022 the country experienced the largest wildfire in its history, which burned an area nearly nine times the size of Ljubljana’s city centre. 

Interviews with Slovenian researchers, firefighters and satellite experts provide unique insights on modern firefighting and life-saving technologies along with testimonies from those who fought the 2022 wildfire. Integrated into the exhibition, the interviews will also be published on EPO social media channels to inspire the public and the next generation of inventors. 

In presenting the vital role of technology and innovation in the fight against wildfires, the exhibition draws information from the EPO’s firefighting platform, which was released last year in collaboration with experts from the national intellectual property offices of France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain. This platform provides ready-made smart searches to support inventors, scientists and engineers in accessing and advancing technical knowledge for fighting wildfires. Running on Espacenet, the EPO's free online patent database, the smart searches help users navigate in excess of 150 million documents that the database makes available to the public.