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:
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.
Store flammables properly
Don't skip chimney maintenance
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.
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
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:
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
Businesses should plan for the risk of disruption, and ensure arrangements are in place to maintain critical services where required.
The links below are designed to help businesses plan for emergency situations:
Business Continuity Plans – A quick guide to impact analysis and plan development
Plan and prepare – State Government advice on how to protect your business
For additional information about Urban Fire:
You may also like: How to store fuel for emergencies
SAPOL How to prepare for a Disaster (PDF)
Community Fire Safety Advice
Things you can do now to prepare for an Urban Fire event:
Understand your risk
Whilst it is not possible to predict the timing and size of a fire, fire notifications are provided by the MFs and CFS, who monitor and report on fires within South Australia. This is done on a 24/7 basis for the purposes of emergency warnings to alert governments, emergency services and the general public of emergency situations.
For MFS emergency incident, such as structure fire, bushfire, chemical spill, gas leak and smoke in the community you can visit the current MFS Media Releases or connect to the MFS Twitter account for current and up to date warnings
For current Bushfire information and warnings for incidents in Country Fire Service (CFS) or Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) area:
The South Australian Emergency Management Sector encourages every household, business and farm to have a written emergency plan.
Prepare an Escape Plan
Every home should have a fire escape plan; you should be prepared to escape under toxic smoke if necessary; here are some tips that could save your life in a house fire:
If you live in an apartment building
It is worthwhile having a plan for what you would do if your usual way of living is disrupted for several days. Here are some suggestions of things you can do to prepare for being homeless after a fire:
The information below will help you further assess your situation and prepare for a fire
Teach your family fire safety
Teaching your family about fire safety is a way you can help with fire prevention, you should teach them about possible fire hazards and to be aware of their actions.
The CFS provides an activity book for children which can help you start the conversation. There are also a large number of fire safety apps, eBooks, lesson plans, and other fun ways to teach kids about fire safety available online.
Build to Australia’s Building Codes
Australia’s building codes set out data and procedures for determining fire safety in structures and their components, whilst detailing minimum requirements for structures. Councils are responsible for ensuring the application of building code provisions. Please make sure you Contact Council if you require assistance from our Development, planning and building services. Find out more about what Council can do to assist you
Protect your finances
Emergencies are really expensive and can become a significant long-term burden. To ensure that your finances are safeguarded you can protect your main income source by taking out life insurance and income protection insurance.