An online education program that helps children understand bushfires and the danger they pose has been launched today in a first for Western Australian schools.

Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis said the program, ‘Bushfire Patrol’, had been developed to provide teachers with an interactive way of teaching students about fire weather conditions, bushfire behaviour, bushfire protection and bushfire warnings. “Dealing with bushfires is a critical part of living in Western Australia so it’s appropriate that it is taught in our classrooms from a young age,” Mr Francis said.

Mr Francis said the program was based on national research on bushfire education, and incorporated advice from local firefighters and teachers in high bushfire risk areas.

“Schools are preparing their sites for the bushfire season and working closely with the DFES to assess risks and carry out mitigation work.”

 Fact File

 ·    Bushfire Patrol is available online at http://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/bushfirepatrol and targets primary school aged children who live in the south-west of W.A.

·      The program is part of a comprehensive education package developed by DFES on bushfire and other natural hazards including floods and cyclones, which is aligned to the national science curriculum.

Further web-based programs are planned for northern WA on bushfires, severe storms, tsunamis and earthquakes.