Spot Fire – Stage 3
Bush fire safety
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
- 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.
- ST3-9ES – explains rapid change at the Earth’s surface caused by natural events, using evidence provided by advances in technology and scientific understanding.
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.
- ‘What’s a Spot Fire?’ safety message video (running time: 30 sec)
- interactive whiteboard (IWB) - optional
- ‘Spot Fire Audit’ activity sheet – one per student
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 or vegetation 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 be 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.
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.
Working in small groups, students then formulate a plan to address the hazard areas. This can include costing materials or labour to address the hazard and planning for options to extinguish spot fires. Once the plan is formulated and costed it should be presented to the principal or school board.
Provide each student with a copy of the activity sheet to take home and repeat the activity for their home and yard.
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?
- 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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