The management of fire is an important element to manage for any event.
Fire management ranges from the identification and management of fire at your event (such as barbeques, fireworks candles) to the management of the event site should your event be held in an area where fire danger is high.
This section covers:
Wildfire risk management
Many events are staged during summer when the fire danger risk is high and can be extreme. This can be a particular issue for event organisers staging large-scale outdoor activities in rural areas, including cycling events.
If the event requires a Wildfire Risk Assessment then the Department of Environment and Primary Industry and County Fire Authority Guidelines must be adhered to.
The DEPI and the CFA developed the guidelines Wildfire Risk Management Approach to Community Events to reduce the likelihood and impact of wildfires on vulnerable community events. This is a shared responsibility between event organisers, government and emergency services.
A vulnerable event is any event that could be directly and/or indirectly impacted by wildfire. The extent of the impact is dependent on the size of the event and numbers attending, fuel type, fuel moisture, fuel loads within and surrounding the event, topography and weather conditions during the Fire Danger Period.
The Wildfire Guidelines will step you through a logical decision-making process to help you identify the vulnerability of your event to wildfire, and to apply a risk management approach to eliminate or reduce the level of risk. They will also assist you to meet your legal obligations while providing a safe environment for event staff, patrons and the general community.
A wildfire risk assessment chart has been included in The Wildfire Guidelines which will indicate to you as to whether a Wildfire Risk Assessment needs to be undertaken.
Your Events Officer will arrange a meeting with the relevant CFA representative to assist in determining if a Wildfire Management Plan is required.
If the event does not require a Wildfire Risk Assessment then the event’s Risk Assessment should still explore the risks of fire and eliminate these risks during the planning and implementation phase.
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During the Fire Danger Period: November to May
Permits to light a fire or operate a naked flame during the Fire Danger Period under the Country Fire Authority Act are generally issued by local municipalities and may be subject to additional requirements imposed by that municipality.
Schedule 14 permits are issued to light a fire for miscellaneous purposes during the Fire Danger Period (for example hot air balloons, fireworks). This permit does not apply for days of Total Fire Ban.
Schedule 14 permits for specific areas are to be processed by the applicable CFA district office. Permits that are required for various locations within Victoria must be applied for through CFA headquarters. These permits will only apply for CFA areas.
For areas outside of this, the permit must be applied for through the MFESB or Department of Sustainability and Environment.
On days of Total Fire Ban
Section 40 permits may be issued for essential work purposes on days of Total Fire Ban. Individuals cannot obtain Section 40 permits.
The CFA will usually issue permits for the following activities:
- discharge of fireworks for the purpose of public entertainment
- lighting of a fire for the purpose of public entertainment
- use of a fire in the open air on a day of Total Fire Ban for the cooking of food by a caterer in the country area of Victoria
- use of emergency flares at civil and military aerodromes
- use of LPG burners for hot air ballooning
These permits will only apply to municipalities with the CFA region. For other areas the permit must be applied for through the Metropolitan Fire Brigade or Department of Environment and Primary Industry (whichever organisation is applicable).
These permits are not automatically granted and, if granted, the user will have to abide by strict conditions that are set out on the permit.
Section 40 permits for specific areas are to be processed by the applicable CFA regional office. Permit applicants for the use of fireworks on days of Total Fire Ban must hold the relevant permits from the Victorian WorkSafe Authority. These permits must be applied for through the relevant local CFA regional office. These applications will be subject to thorough investigation.
If the permit required is for a specific date, the application should be submitted at least four weeks before the date. Permits are rarely issued on the day of Total Fire Ban, and only in special circumstances.
As the event organiser, you may be required to complete a fire planning procedure as a condition of the event being given final approval to go ahead.
There is no guarantee that the permit will be issued by the CFA in these circumstances, therefore you are strongly advised to develop a contingency plan.
To ensure permit is processed with ample time, it is strongly advised you apply for any CFA permits at least four weeks before your event date.
How to manage risk associated with:
Comply with Code of Practice and Energy Safe Victoria Regulations apply for and abide by the conditions of CFA permits.
Apply for and abide by conditions of CFA permits.
Check safety of leads and cords; carry out spot checks, fire extinguishers.
Have designated smoking areas with sand buckets as ash trays, enviro poles, and clear signage about smoking and non-smoking areas, fire extinguishers.
Car parking on grassed areas
Ensure grass has been slashed to 50 millimetres, removed from site and that cars are parked in rows with a width of 4 metres between rows for emergency access. The lanes to access the rows should be 4 metres wide and free of obstruction.
Fire extinguishers should also be on hand.
Depending on the events location and the time of year, the CFA may require earth works to be undertaken on the site to make it safe.
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There are different types and sizes of fire extinguishers suitable for different fires.
Water extinguisher (A Class fires)
Used for fires involving wood, paper and plastics. It is dangerous to use these extinguishers on flammable liquid, electrical equipment, cooking and fat fires.
Wet chemical extinguisher (F Class fire most suitable)
Used for fires involving cooking oils and fats. It is dangerous to use these extinguishers on electrical equipment.
Foam extinguishers (B Class fire most suitable)
Used for fires involving wood, paper, plastics, flammable and combustible liquids. It is dangerous to use these extinguishers on electrical equipment.
Dry chemical ABE (ABC Class fires most suitable)
Used for fires involving wood, paper, plastic, flammable and combustible liquids but not cooking oils or fats, also can be used for flammable gases and electrical equipment.
Dry chemical BE (B Class fires most suitable)
Used for fires involving flammable and combustible liquids, flammable gases, and electrical equipment.
Carbon dioxide (E Class fires most suitable)
- Useful for fires involving electrical equipment
- Vaporising Liquid (E Class Fires most suitable)
- Useful for fires involving electrical equipment.
Fire extinguishers and temporary kitchens
Kitchen with a deep fat fryer
1 x 40BE (approximately 4.5 kilograms) dry chemical powder extinguisher or 1 x 2A 4F (approximately 9 litres) wet chemical extinguisher and one fire blanket
Kitchen without a deep fat fryer
1 x 2A, 20BE dry chemical powder extinguisher and one fire blanket
Extinguishers should be located adjacent to (minimum 2 metres from) any food preparation area involving cooking. A fire blanket complying with AS/ANZ 3504 should also be provided and located adjacent to (minimum 2 metres from) appliances used for cooking or deep-frying.
Fire extinguishers for electrical and gas appliances
Electrical generator equipment or switch boards
1 x 2A 20B or 1 x 2A 40B. Type dependent of capacity of electrical equipment.
Flammable liquids and/or gas containers
1 x 2A 40B dry chemical powder extinguisher. Extinguishers must be located adjacent to (minimum 2 metres from) any electrical generator, switchboards or any area where food preparation is being carried out that involves cooking or any flammable liquid or gas container.
Fire extinguishers and temporary structures
1 x 9 litre water type stored pressure portable fire extinguisher for each 200 square metres or one (1) 4.5 kilograms (or of a greater size) AB(E) dry chemical powder extinguisher for every 100 square metres or part there of marquees to be placed on or adjacent to any doorway or path of travel to any exit.
All extinguishers should be located on hooks or brackets with the base of the extinguisher not less than 100 millimetres above the floor/ground and the top of the extinguisher not more than 1200 millimetres above the floor/ground.
Identification /instructional signs, which comply with the Australian Standards AS2444, should also be located directly above the extinguishers and at least 2 metres above the floor/ground.
Fire extinguishers should be regularly inspected and tested at six monthly intervals. The inspection, test and maintenance regime for fire extinguishers is specified in the Australia Standard AS 1851 Maintenance of Fire Protection Systems and Equipment.
Need to know more...
For more information go to the Victorian Building Authority website.
This information is a guide only and formal advice should be given by a Country Fire Authority (CFA) Officer. For more information go to the CFA website or contact them directly:
Country Fire Authority District 7 is located at 61 Separation Street North Geelong Victoria 3215. You can contact them by email ([email protected]), phone on 03 5277 1499 or fax 03 5277 1515.
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Fire Management Plan
The CFA will provide you with advice and sign off on your event's Fire Prevention Plan.
You will need to ensure that there is sufficient fire fighting equipment on site such as fire extinguishers, fire blankets, hose reels and hydrants.
You may be required to source a commercial water tanker.
The location of fire fighting equipment must be included on the site plan or on a separate Fire Prevention Plan.
You will need to ensure that the extinguishers are suitable for the location. For example a generator must have a chemical extinguisher within proximity.
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