While everyone is at risk during an emergency, some people are at a greater risk due to their inability to access, understand or act on emergency information.

A Shared Responsibility

All health and community service agencies have a responsibility to ensure their staff and clients are safe during bushfire season.

At DFES, we recognise that agencies play an important role in linking their staff and clients with safety information and assisting them to be better prepared for bushfire. The At Risk Communities Program assists agencies  to improve their bushfire emergency management planning as well as assisting their staff and clients to keep themselves safe during an emergency situation.

The Program is aimed at agencies delivering in-home care services to those aging in place or living independently with disability  in high bushfire risk areas. It encourages agencies, their staff and clients to better prepare for and respond to bushfire emergencies.  People who need assistance during an emergency should plan to leave as early as possible. Trying to leave or helping to evacuate someone at the last minute could be deadly.

People who need assistance to stay safe during an emergency should leave as early as possible. Trying to leave or helping to evacuate someone at the last minute could be deadly.

What the At Risk Program offers

The Program provides resources, tools and information to support agencies and their staff in bushfire emergency planning. It includes:

  • information to assist agencies to adopt and embed policies and procedures for bushfire planning and response;
  • resources for staff to better understand their risks, the role they can play in emergency management and what to do before, during and after a bushfire emergency;
  • a planning tool for clients to develop a bushfire plan with their family, friends or personal support networks.
  • DFES also provides information sessions for agencies.  These sessions can be coordinated to suit your needs and will provide an overview of the program, it’s resources and how to use them.  The sessions can be delivered to agency managers, staff and clients.
Download the resources
For Health and Community Service Agencies

Guide for Health and Community Service Agencies

This guide can be used to develop policies and procedures to plan, prepare and respond to bushfire emergencies affecting  staff and  clients.

Bushfire Exercise Scenario

The desktop simulation and emergency response exercises can be used to assess management and staff knowledge and understanding of their roles in emergency situations and to identify areas that require improvement or further training.

For Staff

Guide to Assist Service Providers Working in High Bushfire Risk Areas

Service provider also have a responsibility to respond to an emergency if one occurs whilst travelling to and from or working in a client’s home. This guide will help staff to;

  • understand the bushfire risk to themselves and their clients;
  • know what to do if a bushfire starts;
  • know how to access and understand the bushfire warnings and information;
  • understand their role as a service provider in an emergency situation.

Service Providers are encouraged to keep a copy of the guide in their vehicles and familiarise themselves with it before and during the bushfire season.

For Clients

Be Safe and Leave Early Plan

If clients live near bush, even in a metropolitan area, bushfire is a real threat to them... Completing a Be Safe and Leave Early plan will encourage them to leave early, even before a bushfire starts, giving them more time to evacuate the area and alleviating pressure on service agencies and emergency services.

Asking family, friends or support networks for assistance means they don’t have to do it alone and sharing the plan with their service providers will help keep themselves and staff safe from bushfire.

To book an information session or for more information about the At Risk Communities Program, contact the All Hazard Coordinator – At Risk Communities on 9395 9411 or email

More information