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Total Fire Ban - Early stage 1 and stage 1

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Bush fire safety


The ‘Total Fire Ban’ safety message explores the issue of the rules applicable to Total Fire Ban days.

Bush fires can occur at any time, but are more likely and can be more dangerous in particular areas and at certain times of the year. During this ‘Fire Danger Season’ (also known as ‘Bush Fire Season’ or ‘Bush Fire Danger Season’), restrictions are placed on various activities to help reduce the risk of a bush fire starting. Rural areas are divided into ‘fire ban districts’. Some days will be declared as ‘Total Fire Ban’ days, due to a combination of factors that increase bush fire risks.

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

Links to NSW Curriculum


Environment strand

  • ENES1 – Gathers information about the natural and built environments and communicates some of the ways in which they interact with, and can care for, these environments.
  • ENS1.5 – Compares and contrasts natural and built features in their local area and the ways in which people interact with these features.
  • ENS1.6 – Demonstrates an understanding of the relationship between environments and people

Personal Development, Health and Physical Education

Personal Health strand

  • PHS1.12 – Recognises that positive health choices can promote wellbeing.

Safe Living strand

  • SLES1.13 – Demonstrates an emerging awareness of the concepts of safe and unsafe living.
  • SLS1.13 – Recognises that their safety depends on the environment and the behavior of themselves and others.


  • ENe-11D – responds to and composes simple text about familiar aspects of the world and their own experiences.
  • EN1-11D - responds to and composes simple text about familiar aspects of the world and their own experiences

Learning outcomes

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

  • Students will discuss the meaning of ‘Total Fire Ban’.
  • Students will consider why certain activities are banned on a Total Fire Ban day.


Lesson steps

As a class, watch the video, ‘Total Fire Ban’. Discuss:

  • What were the activities that could not be done during a Total Fire Ban?
  • Why couldn’t Trev’s dad use the welder?
  • Jimmy said that they could have a barbecue if they followed what?

In the video Jimmy says that the day is a Total Fire Ban day. Have students heard this term before? What do they think it means? Explain that Total Fire Ban days are days when a bushfire is likely to spread and be very difficult to control. On these days some activities are restricted or banned as they may cause a fire. What sorts of things or activities do students think would be banned when there is a Total Fire Ban? Visit the website of your state or territory fire agency to check if suggestions are correct or incorrect.

Display the ‘Total Fire Ban Choices’ activity sheet on an IWB. Designate one side of your classroom as ‘yes’ and one side as ‘no’, with the middle representing ‘not sure’. Read the activities on the sheet and ask students to move to the ‘yes’ side if they think these activities can be done on a Total Fire Ban day, ‘no’ if they think they cannot, or to the middle if they are unsure. Ask students to justify their choices. Students could also complete this in small groups on a hard copy of the sheet if you wish.

At the end of the activity, focus on the activities that are banned on days of Total Fire Ban and discuss why. In small groups, students to select one activity and create a poster to let people know that it cannot be done on a Total Fire Ban day. Display the posters around the school or even the local community.

Further activities

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

  • Invite someone from your state or territory fire agency to speak to the class about Fire Danger Ratings, Total Fire Bans, and ways to prepare for bushfire season.
  • Students to research what a fire needs to start and stay alight.
  • Make a Fire Danger Rating chart. Display it in the classroom or at home.
  • Visit the NSW Rural Fire Service website and find information about the Fire Danger Rating chart and how this links to days of Total Fire Ban.

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Australiasian Fire and Emergency Services Council