More than 60 per cent of bushfires in the Kimberley in the past year were deliberate, suspicious or started accidentally.
To help combat this, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES), in collaboration with the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions (Parks and Wildlife Service), has recently developed a new school education program, North West Bushfire Patrol.
Available to schools from today, the program aims to provide teachers in the Kimberley region with geographically and culturally appropriate resources to help teach students about bushfire. It is anticipated that it will work towards reducing the number of preventable bushfires in the region.
North West Bushfire Patrol is a multimedia resource pack with engaging and hands on activities designed to enable students to:
• Know how to identify safe and unsafe fire behaviour and unsafe fire times and risks
• Develop a range of skills to help them respond to bushfire when it occurs
• Develop personal behaviours and strategies for staying safe when there is a fire
• Understand the impact of deliberate fires on communities and the environment
• Detect key bushfire factors required to prepare for bushfire.
DFES Assistant Commissioner of Hazard Planning and Response, Paul Ryan said the new program will provide students in the North West with important bushfire resources relevant to their communities.
“This is an exciting new program which will provide students with the knowledge and skills of how to prevent, prepare for and respond to bushfires in their communities,” Assistant Commissioner Ryan said.
“Completing a bushfire family survival plan, undertaking school bushfire emergency drills and knowing how to find and understand important information like Fire Danger Ratings and bushfire warnings are just some of the topics covered in the program.”
Chief Superintendent Country North, Murray Bawden said the resources will work towards educating not only Kimberley children but their families and wider communities too, increasing overall bushfire preparedness.
“These resources have been specifically designed to address the issues of deliberate and suspicious fires and their impact on the environment in the North West,” Chief Superintendent Bawden said.
“They have been developed in collaboration with local Aboriginal ranger groups to ensure they are geographically and culturally appropriate for the area, and I am confident they will assist with addressing these issues.”
To access the resources, visit the DFES school education website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.