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Total Fire Ban – Stage 3

Li'l Larikkins logo

Bush fire safety

Introduction

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

Geography

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

English

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

Science

  • Daily and seasonal changes in the environment can affect the Earth’s surface.

Learning outcomes

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

  • Students will consider why certain activities are banned on a Total Fire Ban day.
  • Students will learn how the ‘Fire Danger Rating’ system helps them to be better prepared in the event of a bushfire.

Resources

Lesson steps

As a class, watch the 'Total Fire Ban' video. Ask students to discuss the safety message, record their responses. Questions could include:

  • 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. Ask students what they think this means. What sorts of things or activities do students think would be banned on a Total Fire Ban day? Why? 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 interactive whiteboard and have students determine if each of the listed activities is acceptable on a day of Total Fire Ban. Discuss reasons for the choices. Students could also complete this individually on a hard copy.
Display the NSW RFS 'Fire Danger Ratings' chart. Discuss each of the ratings. Explain that the ratings are determined by many factors including amount of rainfall, time since last rainfall, drought, humidity, air temperature, etc. Working in pairs, students to complete the 'What's the Rating?' activity sheet.

Please note: you may need to spend some time discussing how weather factors affect Fire Danger Ratings before undertaking this activity. There is more information in the 'Teacher Background' video and the Fire Danger Ratings fact sheet.

When all pairs have finished go through each scenario as a class and ask students to justify their choices (it is important that students understand the factors that go into deciding the danger rating).

Community service announcements are often used to inform the public of a Total Fire Ban day. Working in small groups students to create their own community service announcement about either a Total Fire Ban day or to tell people what the ‘Fire Danger Rating’ is for that day. This announcement could be a:

  • short television commercial
  • social media post (ensure students meet the age limit requirements before choosing this approach)
  • print ad
  • poster
  • radio ad or jingle
  • short video or animation (similar to the Li’l Larikkins videos).

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 and how they are calculated in the field. They could also speak about 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 CSIRO website to find out more about Fire Danger Ratings. You will need to key ‘fire danger fact sheet’ into the website search box.
  • Find out how Fire Danger Ratings are calculated by visiting the CSIRO website. You will need to key ‘grass fire danger meter’ into the website search box.
  • During the fire season, select a class member to be responsible for checking the fire rating and warnings each day. Make a chart or board on which he/she can write the information so everyone can see it.

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Australiasian Fire and Emergency Services Council