What is Urban Fire?
Urban fires can be caused maliciously, by accident, or as the result of an unforeseen ignition. Fires may also be the result of a natural cause such as earthquakes or lightning. The most common cause of fire in the home is cooking. However all causes can be just as deadly, here are some common examples:
- Smoking (dropping lit cigarettes or leaving matches and lighters within reach of children)
- Faulty electrical appliances or wiring
- Clothes dryers or any other mechanical household equipment
- Electric blankets
- Home heating (flammable items too close to heaters or open fires)
- Chemical spillages
Why Urban Fire considered an Emergency?
As the City Port Adelaide Enfield has a hot, Mediterranean-style climate, the region experiences days of extreme fire danger every summer and large fires have been recorded in the region even as early as the late 1800’s.
The City Port Adelaide Enfield has a large number of industrial areas including Petroleum Storage facilities which carry a real threat of explosion and fire risk.
In a large scale emergency event it is possible to have a large number of fires occur in a short period over a wide suburban area, so that all Fire Service resources fully committed and overwhelmed presenting the risk of fires spreading destroying homes. These risks mean there could be displacement from homes, many casualties and loss of life.
Roles and responsibilities
The National Strategy for Disaster Resilience, developed by the Council of Australian Governments, provides high-level guidance on disaster management to agencies with a role in emergency management. Foremost in the Strategy is the principle of all of society taking responsibility for preventing disasters.
In the context of Urban Fire:
People should be aware of their own fire risks and should follow advice from emergency services when responding to warnings.
To increase community resilience, individuals should actively plan and prepare for protecting their own life and property. Resilience is also increased by knowing and being involved in local community disaster or emergency management arrangements, and volunteer role.
The following tips will help you to prevent the outbreak of fire:
The kitchen may be the biggest fire hazard and fire starter in your home. A high level of diligence is required when cooking to ensure you adequately manage the risk of fire.
- Cooking food should never be left unattended
- Check your appliances regularly for cracks or worn electrical cords
- Make sure curtains and towels are always clear of heat sources
- Have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen
- The stove is not counter space and nothing should be left on top of the stove
- Have your system checked and maintained regularly
- Be proactive about electrical cords and appliances
- Make sure you do not run extension cords under rugs or in high traffic areas.
- Cords should not be touching nails or screws.
- Keep items away from outlets.
- Make sure the outlets and extension cords are not overloaded.
Store flammables properly
- Combustibles should be stored in well ventilated areas and in the proper container
- Keep combustibles in the shed away from potential heat “triggers.”
- Any rags or materials that have had contact with those flammable materials should be immediately disposed of
- Matches and lighters need to have their own special place away from heat and small curious fingers and eyes.
Don't skip chimney maintenance
- Inspect your chimney regularly, and clean them before "fire season" each year
- Keep your wood stoves, pellet stoves, and fireplaces clean and in good
- Check regularly to be sure that branches and leaves are kept away from the chimney area
- Your chimney should also be at least 3 feet taller than your roof, insulated, and have a spark arrestor on top.
- Look into purchasing a Chimney Fire Suppressant device that puts out chimney fires when its smoke emissions rise up the flue to replace the oxygen. This is a good safety measure to have available even if you keep your chimney in good repair.
Fires don’t just start inside your home. Outside maintenance can help prevent fires that start or enter your property from getting to your house.
- Keep landscaping well-watered, clean, and well-spaced
- Don’t neglect your roof and keep gutters clean, especially of dry leaves.
- Keep your Driveway clear of overgrowth and clutter
- Make sure a fire truck can get unobstructed access to your property.
Maintain your vacant block
Unmaintained vacant blocks can cause a number of issues to neighbouring properties, they detract aesthetically from the local area, encourage illegal dumping and they increase the opportunity for urban fire.
Council regularly conduct fire prevention inspections across the Council Area under the Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005. These inspections can identify properties that require works to be carried out to reduce the threat of fire to life or property.
The easiest way to maintain your vacant blocks is to engage a contractor who can slash/cut the vegetation on the block regularly.
Government agencies, local governments and communities
Organisations should include Fire risk within their Community Emergency Risk Assessment activities. This includes consideration within emergency management planning and land use planning.
Resilience is developed through land management and planning arrangements, assessment of risks, supporting individuals and communities to prepare for extreme events, and having effective education programs available.
Additional prevention tasks carried out by state and local government include:
- Risk assessments to gain an appreciation of fire risk;
- Engaging with the community regarding fire risk;
- Working with communities to plan the management of urban fire risk;
- Providing emergency information and fire warnings;
- Ensuring an effective, well-coordinated response to an Urban Fire event
- Helping communities to recover and learn following an earthquake and build their resilience to future events
Private Industry and businesses
Businesses play a fundamental role in supporting a community’s resilience to disasters. They provide resources, expertise and essential services on which the community may depend. Businesses, including critical infrastructure providers, can also make a contribution by understanding the risks that they face and ensuring that they are able to continue providing services during or soon after a disaster