The NSW Rural Fire Service recognises that children and young people can make substantial contributions to household and community resilience.
NSW RFS members across NSW are actively engaged with the children’s services and school communities in delivering key messages about bush fire safety; connecting with teachers and parents; providing guidance on emergency planning, and participating in emergency drills.
New Stage 3 Geography syllabus
In 2016, the NSW Department of Education introduced the study of bush fire into the syllabus for all Stage 3 (Years 5 and 6) students.
The syllabus states that students must study a contemporary bush fire event. They are also encouraged to use an inquiry-based approach to learning.
This is a great opportunity for children and young people to better understand the impacts of natural hazards and bush fire specifically and the NSW RFS is keen to support students and teachers in this study.
Best practice case study
The St Ives North Public School in northern suburbs of Sydney, introduced the study of bush fire in 2016 and called upon the NSW RFS as content experts throughout their study. This is an example of excellent collaboration between a school and the NSW RFS. The following four minute video features the students, teachers and firefighters involved.
Primary School Education
The Li’l Larikkins Bushfire Safety Program has been designed to assist primary schools teachers to engage their students in bush fire safety and preparedness. The program, along with student-led activities and support from the NSW RFS aims to empower primary students to take stock of their surroundings and community and come to learn more about the unique Australian environment in which we live.
Teacher-led Li'l Larikkins bush fire safety program
- Lower Primary (Early Stage 1 and Stage 1) Students to gain understanding of fire safety and to develop personal skills to ensure their own safety in a fire or emergency event.
- Middle Primary (Stage 2) Students to increase their knowledge of fire safety and to further develop their personal skills and develop an awareness of the safety of others in a fire or emergency event.
- Upper Primary (Stage 3) Students to reinforce the further develop personal skills to use in a fire or disaster event. Students will develop knowledge and skills that will enable them to contribute to their community’s bush fire and fire preparedness.
Student-led activities regarding fire and emergency events
Once students have gained knowledge and understanding of skills required to be fire safe, it is important to cement this knowledge through activities that require decision-making and problem solving. Allowing students to be active in preparing for disaster events will reduce anxiety and allow for positive action in the case of an event. Examples of student-led activities are:
- Utilise the Student Representative Council to make regular presentations to other students and parents regarding ways to prepare for bush fire season at home.
- Involving students in emergency drill practices and allowing them to feedback on the process.
Supporting your school
The NSW RFS can support teachers and students by presenting fire safety sessions, supporting school emergency planning and working with the school community to be prepared for a fire event. Contact us today to find out more.
NSW RFS Children's Bush Fire Collection
Our library has a collection of Australian children's picture books for younger readers that focus on bush fires. Primary schools, childcare centres, and brigades are welcome to borrow the collection to assist with engaging children to think about bush fires. The collection may be used at open days, school visits or by teachers in the classrooms. Activity sheets are also available for some of the titles. Check out our children's bush fire collection page on our library website for more information.