On 17 and 18 October 2022, we reunited with PREVENT course alums to catch up on the successes and challenges of managing fire risk at heritage sites across the globe. The two-day international symposium - the first of its kind for the PREVENT initiative - was held in Trogir, Croatia, and online.

The symposium marked one year since ICCROM’s first PREVENT - Mitigating Fire Risk for Heritage course. Led by fire risk prevention specialists, Cultural First Aiders, firefighters and emergency response agencies, the PREVENT course was a participatory and multidisciplinary learning opportunity that considered risks to heritage posed by all sources of fire, both natural and manmade.

PREVENT outcomes

The symposium brought together more than 600 professionals from 89 countries, coming from diverse fields and contexts: from academia to government agencies, museums and youth organizations. Participants shared their valuable insights and perspectives on the vulnerabilities that create fire risks for heritage.

Symposium participants from the PREVENT course shared success stories in their local contexts, from nine cases in eight countries, including museums in Brazil, Canada, Chile and Israel; a royal palace in Nigeria; the Church of the Nativity in Palestine; the Newbridge House and Banff Park in Ireland; and even the symposium host city - Trogir. They highlighted the effectiveness of the PREVENT course by showing how these heritage places have benefitted from course alums’ built capacity to reduce fire risk to heritage and enhance emergency

Organized by ICCROM's flagship programme, First Aid and Resilience for Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis (FAR), the symposium was generously hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Media, the Republic of Croatia and the City of Trogir. It was supported by the Croatian Fire Association, the Public Fire Brigade of the City of Trogir, the Estonian Rescue Board, the Italian National Fire Corps (Corpo Nazionale dei Vigili del Fuoco – CNVVF) and the Swedish National Heritage Board.

The symposium kicked off with welcoming remarks from Ante Bilić, the Mayor of Trogir, Damir Trut, the Director of the Croatian Civil Protection Directorate, Slavko Tucaković, the Chief Fire Commander, of the Croatian Fire Association and Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek, the Minister of Culture and Media of Croatia, as well as Valerie Magar, the Programmes Unit Manager of ICCROM. Together, the speakers made a case for fostering greater cooperation between heritage professionals, fire risk prevention specialists, Cultural First Aiders, firefighters and emergency response agencies.

A statement from Ante Bilić, Mayor of Trogir Croatia

"We had the honour and privilege to host the international symposium, which dealt with an important topic that concerns thousands of cities around the world, which is protecting cultural heritage from fire. I am proud that ICCROM chose Trogir as one of only eight cities in the world for its PREVENT program, that our Conservation Department demonstrated so much initiative and cooperation, and that as one of the results of cooperation, many of the world authorities on this subject gathered in Trogir. The city administration will always support such and similar ideas in the future and will gladly cooperate with all relevant stakeholders, starting with the Ministry of Culture, ICCROM and others.


Across the two days, cultural heritage professionals, fire-risk specialists and national defence experts from Australia, Croatia, Estonia, Italy, Sweden and the United States shared their evidence-based examples of fire-risk mitigation and highlighted the importance of interdisciplinarity in promoting fire safety and risk reduction.

A round table provided an interactive platform to the teams of cultural heritage professionals and fire risk experts from the first PREVENT workshop. A series of questions, polls and interactive word clouds engaged the live and online audience in the discussion. Their shared experiences showcased an array of similar challenges around the world, such as the intensifying wildfires caused by climate change, the lack of resources and capacities to safeguard heritage and the coordinated implementation of prevention and mitigation measures.

Areas for improvement identified to reduce disaster risks at heritage places around the world including building and fire safety codes that consider heritage-specific needs, enhanced communication about risks among stakeholders and community engagement.

Coming soon! We will collect all the stories of change achieved on the ground in eight countries and will share them as a new ICCROM publication, to be released in 2023.

Watch the recording of the symposium here.


Dichiarazione del Ministro, Dott.ssa Nina Obuljen Koržinek, Ministero della Cultura e dei Media:

"Vorrei ringraziare tutti i relatori che sono venuti da tutto il mondo e le cui presentazioni hanno dato un ulteriore impulso per promuovere la prevenzione e il processo di ricostruzione. Mi congratulo in particolare con l'ICCROM, la Città di Trogir e l'Associazione Croata dei Vigili del Fuoco, che hanno organizzato questo simposio insieme al nostro Dipartimento di Conservazione di Trogir in tempi molto brevi.

Desideriamo esprimere il nostro sostegno congiunto all'iniziativa di scambiare diverse esperienze per comprendere meglio la natura del rischio di incendio nei siti del patrimonio culturale. È importante che tutti gli attori coinvolti nel processo di gestione dei siti di valore del patrimonio culturale, in particolare le città storiche, partecipino a questo scambio." 

Post-symposium national course 

PREVENT TrogirFollowing the symposium, participants Jasna Popovic and Marin Buble, with the support of ICCROM-FAR, organized the first national PREVENT workshop in Trogir, Croatia. More than 45 participants, including 12 teams of cultural heritage professionals and firefighters, engaged in a three-day intensive workshop for mitigating fire risks at heritage places. The participants included ten conservators, 18 firefighters, three restorers, ten museum curators, two museum technicians and two members of the civil protection directorate. Led by ICCROM-FAR Team, Aparna Tandon, Alessia Strozzi and Jui Ambani, as well as Luca Nassi from the Corpo nazionale dei vigili del fuoco, the course sessions were conducted in Croatian and English. The multidisciplinary teams were enabled to better understand fire risks, conduct risk assessments and simulate realistic disaster risk scenarios to test their mitigation and preparedness for managing fire risk, protecting lives and safeguarding heritage.