CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The 29th Annual Virginia Fire Equity and Diversity Conference is happening this week in Charlottesville.

More than 60 fire departments from the commonwealth and around the country are gathering at the Omni Hotel. The focus of the conference is beyond just the technical aspects of firefighting: Charlottesville Fire Deputy Chief of Administration Emily Pelliccia says diversity is a priority.

“Sometimes there are barriers and challenges to connecting to the rest of the community, and so I just think it’s really important for us to take some time and talk about ways in which strategies we can use to break down some of those barriers," Pelliccia said.

The conference runs until Friday, October 4.

If you are a firefighter and would like to take part, registration is still open.