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Off to the tip – Stage 3

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Bush fire safety


The ‘Off to the Tip’ safety message explores the importance of preparing for bushfire season by managing (e.g. relocating, disposing of, or dispersing) flammable materials close to your home or sheds. This could include piled up branches, bark, leaves, twigs, heavy mulch and other wood piles.

This lesson should ideally be completed after the ‘Raking up Twigs and Leaves’ and ‘What is a Spot Fire?’ lessons.

It is recommended that you view the background information for teachers before undertaking this lesson.

Links to NSW Curriculum


Environment strand

  • ENS3.5 – demonstrates an understanding of the interconnectedness between Australia and global environments and how individuals and groups can act in an ecologically responsible manner.
  • ENS3.6 – explains how various beliefs and practices influence the ways in which people interact with, change and value their environment.

Personal Development, Health and Physical Education

Personal Health strand

  • PHS3.12 – explains the consequences of personal lifestyle choices

Safe Living strand

  • SLS3.13 – describes safe practices that are appropriate to a range of situations and environments


  • EN3-8D – identifies and considers how different viewpoints of their world, including aspects of culture are represented in texts.

Learning outcomes

Participating in this lesson will help students to achieve the following learning outcomes:

  • Students will learn how they can help protect their home from bushfire damage.
  • Students will learn about potential bushfire hazards around the home and how to manage/ dispose of them correctly.


  • ‘Off to the Tip’ safety message video (running time: 30 sec)
  • interactive whiteboard (IWB) - optional
  • A4 paper (or relevant workbook)
  • computers with the internet
  • ‘Managing Hazards’ activity sheet. – one per student
  • coloured pencils for drawing and colouring

Lesson steps

As a class, watch the ‘Off to the Tip' video.  Discuss:

  • What was Amy’s job?
  • How was Maddie helping?
  • Why were they taking the branches to the tip?
  • Piled up branches can catch fire easily. What else can catch fire easily?
  • What are some other dangers of leaving piles of branches lying around?
  • Why is it important to prepare for bushfire season?

With a partner, students discuss what potential hazards they have in their yard, and why they could be bushfire hazards. Explain to students that hazards can even include small leaves and twigs (about the size of your finger), which are sometimes referred to as ‘fine fuel’ and can become embers (burning leaves or twigs that are carried by the wind and can cause spot fires).

Students to create a scale drawing of their yard and label its features. Indicate any items or areas that may be bushfire hazards.

Once finished, share the illustrations and create a list some of the more common hazards (such as wood piles, gas bottles, overhanging branches etc.).

As a class, or in small groups, brainstorm ways in which each hazard could be managed. Management may include relocating items so they are away from buildings, tidying the yard or removing the items (using bins or the local tip). Record ideas. Ask students to think of places in their local area that provide disposal or collection options (this may require further research).

Students to complete the ‘Managing Hazards’ activity sheet to list the hazards around their home, ways to manage them, and the person responsible for managing each hazard (this can be done as a homework task).

Repeat this activity for the school grounds. Develop a school ‘Bushfire Hazard Management Plan’. This should involve the grounds person if applicable. Identify hazards that require regular attention (e.g. areas where large amounts of vegetation gathers) and create a class or student group roster to make sure they are managed.

Further activities

Here are some suggested extra activities to extend the students’ learning.

  • Invite someone from your local bushfire service to speak to the class about ways to prepare for bushfire season.
  • Students to collect small twigs and leaves to use in a fire-themed creative arts project.
  • Organise a trip to a local tip or recycling centre. Find out how it operates.

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Australiasian Fire and Emergency Services Council