Bushfires are unpredictable and happen every year.
While the 2019/2020 bushfire season has seen WA firefighters deployed interstate to assist with catastrophic fire conditions, those back home have been kept busy too,
with multiple fires impacting the Western Australian community.
Do your students have questions about fire or other natural hazards?
DFES provides free activities and lesson plans for Year 3-6 teachers and their students. All excursions, lesson plans and classroom activities are linked to the Western Australian Curriculum and Reporting Outline.
External resources supporting teachers on their return to school in the context of the national bushfire crisis can be found at the bottom of this page.
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Home Fire Safety Program
Home Fire Escape Plan
You may not be able to access our excursion and incursion programs right now; however, children can still complete a Home Fire Escape Plan with their families. DFES recommends families have a Home Fire Escape Plan and practise it at least twice a year.
In fire emergencies, young people should know how to call Triple Zero (000) and be prepared to tell the operator their name, address and nearest cross street.
Our Classroom Resources include a Teacher’s Guide, a Home Fire Escape Plan, and a Junior Fire Safety Certificate to print once students have completed their plan.
DFES Student Worksheet - Home Fire Escape Plan (PDF)
About the program
The Home Fire Safety Program is a WA Curriculum-linked fire safety education program. It is designed to provide developmentally appropriate fire safety prevention messages and life-saving tips on how children can respond to a fire emergency in their homes.
The program includes classroom resources, a firefighter school incursion (Year 3 only) and an excursion to the Education and Heritage Centre (Years 2 to 6).
Year 3 Firefighter Incursion
Career firefighters visit Year 3 students in metropolitan Perth and larger regional centres. Teachers can contact their local metro or regional fire station to book an incursion. Incursions are free and run for approximately 60 minutes.
Volunteer firefighters may also be able to visit your school. Contact your local service to find out more.
Excursion (Years 2 – 6)
The Home Fire Safety excursion is available at the DFES Education and Heritage Centre during each school term. Bookings are essential.
The visit includes a tour of the engine room and fire gallery, dressing up as a firefighter whilst exploring a fire truck and its equipment. There is a group photo opportunity, so bring a camera!
Students are encouraged to return to school and draw their own Home Fire Escape Plan which they will take home and practise with their families.
The excursion runs for 90 minutes and the following sessions are available for bookings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays only:
Morning: 10:15am to 11:45am
Afternoon: 12:30pm to 2:00pm
Students learn about:
- Fire hazards in the home
- Smoke and smoke alarms
- Crawling low under smoke
- Having a safe meeting place
- Developing their own Home Fire Escape Plan for their family
- Triple Zero (000)
As our gallery spaces are quite small, we recommend no more than 8 adults (including teachers and teacher assistants) attend the excursion with your class.
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Bushfire Patrol (Year 4 – Year 6)
Bushfire Patrol Overview
Bushfire Patrol includes DFES’s bushfire resources for teachers and students who live in the South West Land Division of Western Australia. Bushfire Patrol aims to raise students’ awareness of bushfire risk and develops a range of skills to help them prevent and respond to bushfires. Bushfire Patrol was evaluated in 2017/18 and this version was released in October 2018.
Module One – Understanding the Elements of Fire
Students are introduced to the science of fire and learn that a fire needs heat, fuel and oxygen to burn. They learn that one of these elements must be removed for a fire to be extinguished and discover the safest method of putting out a campfire.
Module Two – Causes of Bushfire and Bushfire Weather
Students investigate the top four main causes of bushfire in Western Australia. They build on their knowledge of the fire triangle and gain a better understanding of weather conditions and bushfire. Students learn about the different bushfire seasons in Western Australia.
Module Three – Fire Danger Ratings and Prescribed Burning
Students learn where to find their local Fire Danger Rating and what it means. They learn about the importance of prescribed burning in bushfire management and investigate what activities or actions are not allowed during a Total Fire Ban.
PLANNING FOR BUSHFIRE
Module four – What is the Risk?
Students use a Bush Fire Prone Map to better understand their home and their school’s bushfire risk. Students discuss when to use Triple Zero (000) and consider the items they would put in an Emergency Grab Bag if they had to leave their home quickly in an emergency.
Module five – Bushfire Plans and Fire Danger Warnings
Students use DFES’s 5 Minute Fire Chat tool and parents/carers are encouraged to access this tool. Students learn about the different levels of bushfire warnings and where to find information about a bushfire. Students begin to develop their own Family Bushfire Plan, engaging their families in the process.
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North West Bushfire Patrol (Year 4 – Year 6)
North West Bushfire Patrol Overview
North West Bushfire Patrol includes DFES’s bushfire resources for teachers and students who live in the North West land division of Western Australia. North West Bushfire Patrol aims to raise student awareness of bushfire risks and consequences; whilst developing a range of skills to help them prevent and respond to bushfires. North West Bushfire Patrol was developed in partnership with the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions.
Please note: Year 3 resources can be found here.
Module One – Understanding Bushfire
Students are able to explain what causes bushfires in the North West, know how to respond appropriately when they see people playing with fire and are able to identify if an area is bushfire prone.
Module Two – Factors Affecting Bushfire Behaviour
Students are able to explain when bushfires are most likely to occur in the Kimberley region and can determine bushfire weather and times when it is safe to have a fire. Students are able to locate the Fire Danger Rating for their local area and understand its purpose.
Module Three – Impacts of Bushfires
Students understand that bushfires have a largely negative impact on our community but that community members can prepare for bushfires to lessen the impacts. Students understand the impacts of fire on the natural environment and identify how differing fire patterns have differing impacts on plant and animal populations.
Module Four – Fire Land Management
Students understand how fire regimes have changed over time, from pre-human to Aboriginal to current fire regimes and can identify key personnel involved in fire management in North West Australia. Students understand that cultural values, biodiversity and the economy are all considered when fire management strategies are developed.
Module Five – Responding to Bushfire
Students understand where to find information during a bushfire and know how to plan for and respond to a bushfire in order to keep safe.
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Cyclone and Flood Lesson Plans and Resources
Cyclone and Flood Lesson Plans and Resources are for classroom use in Western Australian primary schools. These resources aim to raise student awareness of cyclone and flood risks, whilst developing a range of skills to help students respond to a cyclone and/or flood emergency. If students are learning about cyclone, we recommend all six modules are used. However, if students are only learning about flood, use Modules 3-6 only.
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It’s important that all children are aware of the practical steps on how to identify, confidently react to and report legitimate emergencies to Triple Zero (000).
As an Early Childhood resource, the
Triple Zero Kids Challenge is designed to help children learn about calling 000 in an emergency. The Triple Zero Kids Challenge uses games and fun videos (accessed through Apple AppStore or Google Play),
lesson plans and worksheets to teach safety messages. Click on the Parents & Teachers Guide to access resources.
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- What is an emergency?
- Police, Fire, Ambulance
- Hoax calls
- Triple Zero Heroes (how to make a 000 call)
- Home fire safety and calling 000
- Bushfire danger ratings, alerts, preparing for bushfire and making a bushfire plan
Be Safe Around Water App
‘Be Safe Around Water
’ helps primary school students to engage with water safety by identifying risky behaviours around eleven natural and man-made hazards involving water.
High-risk scenarios include dealing with floodwater; ocean swimming and storm warnings, and fishing off rocks. Children navigate the scenarios and identify safety concerns, unlocking subsequent levels and safety information.
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The Li’l Larikkins Bushfire Safety program has been developed to help students understand the importance of bushfire preparation and safety both at school and at home.
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Home Schooled Groups
The Home Fire Safety excursion is available for home schooled year 3 to year 6 students at the DFES Education and Heritage Centre in Perth. Bookings are essential.
Parents are welcome to attend but younger siblings are unable to participate in all activities due to their content.
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School Holiday Activities
The DFES Education and Heritage Centre welcomes all casual visitors during school holidays.
However, we do not accept bookings from Vacation Care, Child Care Centres or any other group. If groups arrive at the Centre unannounced, they will be turned away.
The DFES Education and Heritage Centre participates in Perth City’s Playground Pass program in Term 1 and Term 2 school holidays each year.
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- Cope Disaster Book Series
A series of children's online books. The COPE squad work together to help others prepare for and respond to disasters (E.g. earthquake, tsunami, cyclone, flood and COVID-19).
- The Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience (AIDR) and Emerging Minds have developed a resource to support teachers returning to school in the context of the national bushfire crisis.
- The Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health has launched Birdie’s Tree, a series of online books, games and teaching resources to help young children traumatised by cyclones, bushfires, floods or other natural disasters.
Birdie's Tree Natural Disaster Resources
- Australian Red Cross has a range of resources for teachers, parents, children and young people of all ages who are in the process of recovering from the trauma of an emergency or disaster.
Red Cross Resources for Parents and Teachers
- Emergency WA
- Li’l Larikkins Natural Hazards Children’s Program (Flood, Storm, Cyclone and Tsunami)
- Triple Zero kids’ Challenge
- St John Ambulance First Aid Incursions
- Department of Parks and Wildlife Excursion – Living With Fire (Years 5 – 6)
- Bureau of Meteorology
- Disaster Resilience Education for Schools
• Before the Storm App
• Disaster Mapper
• Living With Disaster – Digital Stories
- Geoscience Australia (Earthquake and Tsunami Resources)
- Tsunami: The Ultimate Guide
- BeachSAFE (Surf Life Saving Western Australia)
- ABC Splash (Explore Video Footage using Year and Topic)
- Psychological Society - Psychological assistance with natural disasters
- Australian Child & Adolescent Trauma, Loss & Grief Network