Although everyone is at risk in an emergency, some people are at higher risk because they are experiencing factors that impact on their safety, wellbeing, knowledge, connectedness, and security.

A Shared Responsibility

All health and community service agencies have a responsibility to ensure their staff and clients are safe during bushfire season.

At DFES, we recognise that agencies play an important role in linking their staff and clients with safety information and assisting them to be better prepared for bushfire. The At Higher Risk Communities Program assists agencies  to improve their bushfire emergency management planning as well as assisting their staff and clients to keep themselves safe during an emergency situation.

More about the program

People who need assistance to stay safe during an emergency should leave as early as possible. Trying to leave or helping to evacuate someone at the last minute could put your and their life in danger.

What the At Higher Risk Program offers

The Program provides resources, tools and information to support agencies and their staff in bushfire emergency planning. It includes:

  • information to assist agencies to adopt and embed policies and procedures for bushfire planning and response;
  • resources for staff to better understand their risks, the role they can play in emergency management and what to do before, during and after a bushfire emergency;
  • a planning tool for clients to develop a bushfire plan with their family, friends or personal support networks.

Download the resources

  • Guide for Health and Community Service Agencies
  • This guide can be used to develop policies and procedures to plan, prepare and respond to bushfire emergencies affecting  staff and  clients.

  • Bushfire Exercise Scenario
  • The desktop simulation and emergency response exercises can be used to assess management and staff knowledge and understanding of their roles in emergency situations and to identify areas that require improvement or further training.

  • Guide to Assist Service Providers Working in High Bushfire Risk Areas
  • Service provider also have a responsibility to respond to an emergency if one occurs whilst travelling to and from or working in a client’s home. This guide will help staff to;

    • understand the bushfire risk to themselves and their clients;
    • know what to do if a bushfire starts;
    • know how to access and understand the bushfire warnings and information;
    • understand their role as a service provider in an emergency situation.

    Service Providers are encouraged to keep a copy of the guide in their vehicles and familiarise themselves with it before and during the bushfire season.

  • Be Safe and Leave Early Plan
  • Bushfire Safety Guide for Direct Care Givers
  • If clients live near bush, even in a metropolitan area, bushfire is a real threat to them... Completing a Be Safe and Leave Early plan will encourage them to leave early, even before a bushfire starts, giving them more time to evacuate the area and alleviating pressure on service agencies and emergency services.

    Asking family, friends or support networks for assistance means they don’t have to do it alone and sharing the plan with their service providers will help keep themselves and staff safe from bushfire.

View all DFES publications

Have a question?

To book an information session or for more information about the At Higher Risk Communities Program, contact the All Hazard Coordinator – At Higher Risk Communities on 9395 9983 or email

More Information

Bushfire publications

View and download bushfire manuals, guides and publications.

Learn more

Bushfire overview

To survive a bushfire you must be prepared to make your own decisions.

Learn more

Prepare for a bushfire

Having a bushfire plan in place will help you make better decisions.

Learn more

During a bushfire

If a bushfire has started, then you need to monitor official warnings.

Learn more

Recovering from a bushfire

In the wake of a bushfire, it can be incredibly daunting to return home.

Learn more

Bushfire Centre of Excellence

An education hub where bushfire management personnel can come together for training and learning.

Learn more

Bushfire prone areas

Find out if your property is located in a bushfire prone area and view the planning requirements.

Learn more

Total fire ban

A Total Fire Ban is declared when a fire is likely to spread rapidly.

Learn more

Planned burning

The process of planning and applying fire to a predetermined area.

Learn more

Rural and farm fire

Bushfire risk when you live in a rural or farming area.

Learn more