Victorian firefighters help at-risk people to prevent, detect, escape home fires

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Victoria’s fire services have launched an online learning module to support older people and people with disabilities to plan for fire emergencies at home.


The new e-learning module, Prevent, Detect, Escape – Home Fire Safety for people at higher risk, is the first of its kind in Australia, and has been made by CFA and FRV for people at increased fire risk, and for people who support or care for them.

On average, 18 people die in residential house in Victoria every year, and people are at higher risk if they have difficulties identifying that a fire has started, or if they’re slower or unable to escape from a fire at home.

CFA Acting Chief Officer Gavin Thompson said the new course focusses on three main elements to reduce risk.

“Prevention is key, and this module looks at the many ways people can reduce the chance of a fire starting,” said A/CO Thompson.

“However, if there is a fire, early detection is crucial, and the importance of working smoke alarms is a big part of this module.

“Finally, this module helps people understand how to make an escape plan that is right for their individual needs.”

Fire Rescue Commissioner Ken Block said high-risk people are over-represented in fatal fire statistics.

“National statistics show 62 per cent of people who die in preventable house fires have a disability,” said Commissioner Block.

“This module has been created to help us reduce the number of fatalities, injuries and the number of fires that occur.

“The development of this e-learning module has been a truly collaborative effort. It has been designed to be user friendly and has been adapted to suit different learning styles with elements such as videos, audio, subtitles, and quizzes.”

CFA and FRV worked with a wide range of stakeholders on the development of the module, including people with lived experience of disability, carers, support workers, and service provider managers or coordinators.

Sale resident James Griffiths, who is vision impaired, was one of 50 people who provided feedback on the module.

James has first-hand experience of the dangers of house fires, having escaped from a burning house as a child, and said its critical for people with a higher fire risk to know what to do in an emergency.

“I already have additional considerations for everyday life because I’m blind, but this module focuses on more specific things to think about so you’re prepared for a housefire.”

“What’s also important is that this is not only for people with disabilities or older people, who may be at higher risk; it’s also for carers, family members, and support service providers.”

The Prevent, Detect, Escape – Home Fire Safety for people at higher risk e-learning module can be completed online at and


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Submitted by CFA Media