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Spot Fire – Stage 2

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Bush fire safety

Introduction

The ‘What’s a Spot Fire?’ safety message explores the issue of spot fires being created by flying embers and sparks. Spot fires can cause major damage to properties. It is important to protect your home from this risk by covering gaps and drainpipes where embers or sparks might cause a fire.

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

Links to NSW Curriculum

Geography

Environment strand

  • ENS2.5 – describes places in the local area and other parts of Australia and explains their significance.

Personal Development, Health and Physical Education

Personal Health strand

  • PHS2.12 – discusses the factors influencing personal health choices.

Safe Living strand

  • SLS2.13 – discusses how safe practices promote personal wellbeing.

English

  • EN2-11D – responds to and composes a range of texts that express viewpoints of the world similar to and different from their own.

Science

  • ST2-8ES – describes some observable changes over time on the Earth's surface that result from natural processes and human activity.
  • ST2-9ES – describes how relationships between the sun and the Earth cause regular changes.

Learning outcomes

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

  • Students will learn what a spot fire is and how they start.
  • Students will identify areas in their school that may be spot fire hazards.

Resources

Lesson steps

As a class, watch the ‘What’s a Spot Fire?’ video. Ask students to discuss the safety message, record their responses. Questions could include:

  • What was Amy’s Mum doing?
  • Why do the gaps need to be covered?
  • What was she using to cover the gaps?
  • What is a spot fire?
  • What other gap did Trev say needed to be covered?

In the video, Amy’s Mum said spot fires can start from flying embers or sparks. Brainstorm what might cause sparks, and what sort of weather conditions would make it ideal for spot fires to occur.

In small groups, students to walk around the school grounds and use the ‘Spot Fire Audit’ activity sheet to record any areas that might present spot fire hazards. They could consider areas where embers may get trapped, areas of dry vegetation and equipment that could cause sparks. When finished, each group should share their findings with the rest of the class and present some options to reduce the hazard.

Explain to students that if spot fires are dealt with quickly, they can be extinguished before causing any major damage. Spot fires can be extinguished with things such as wet towels, buckets of water, wet mops, water pistols, hoses, etc. Ask students to brainstorm any other household items that could be used.

Safety note: Children should not be encouraged to extinguish spot fires themselves, however they can help to prepare buckets of water, wet towels, etc.
Provide each student with a copy of the activity sheet to take home and repeat the activity for their home and yard.

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.
  • Research types of material that would be suitable to use when covering gaps. What properties do the materials have that make them suitable?
  • Students research the danger of evaporative air conditioning units catching fire from embers and how this can be prevented.
  • There have been many instances of fires starting from sparks and embers in Australia. Students to find one example, read about it and discuss how it could have been prevented.
  • Students to research what a fire needs to start and stay alight.

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Australiasian Fire and Emergency Services Council