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Safer precincts (bushfire) Smoke and Flame (during bushfire)
Safer Settlements (bushfire) Standard Emergency Warning Signal
Sandbags Status
Schools Storms
Smoke (after bushfire)  


Question: Where can I find/purchase sandbags?

Refer the caller to their local Council who may be able to assist.


Question: Will my school be closed today/tomorrow?  I heard it was going to be a catastrophic day?

The Department for Education and Child Development offer a Hotline - 1800 000 279 which schools and parents are encouraged to ring when they have a question about potential school closures. This line will be staffed by DECD on the day before (up until 7.00 pm) and the day of schools being closed (from 7.00 am); you can also direct the caller to 

Remind the caller that this is a DECD matter and not a CFS matter and parents should not call the CFS Bushfire Information Hotline about school closures. 

Question:     Our children have been kept at the school until the incident is safe, when with they be released from the school?

Question:     Should we let the school bus take the children home?

Each school has an Emergency Management Policy, which includes provisions for bushfire, floods and severe weather events. Schools have a close liaison with CFS and other emergency services. The school policy should be to keep the children at school until they are advised that the situation has been declared safe by emergency services.

Schools in high bushfire prone areas have identified an area within the school as a safe refuge from Bushfire.

All School Enquiries should be referred to the Department for Education and Child Development Hotline - 1800 000 279 or the school.

Question:       Are the school buses running / can I / should I collect my child/children from school?

If there is a fire or severe weather event in the area the police may stop school buses along with other vehicles. School policy should prevent busses from leaving the school in the event of a bushfire in the area.

Question:       Should we evacuate the school?

Each school has Emergency Management Policy which includes provisions for bushfire. Schools have a close liaison with CFS and other emergency services. The school policy should be to keep the children at school until they are advised that the situation has been declared safe by SA Police or the CFS.

Schools in high bushfire prone areas have identified an area within the school as a safe refuge from Bushfire.

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When Emergency Warning messages are played they will continue to be accompanied by the Standard Emergency Warning Signal

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During storms and periods of generally wet and windy weather you should take the following precautions:

  • Ensure loose items such as outdoor furniture and children's play equipment (e.g. trampolines and cubby houses) are put away or secured.
  • Park vehicles undercover, but not under large trees.
  • Stay indoors and away from windows at times when weather conditions are severe.
  • Stay away from fallen powerlines (it should be assumed that fallen powerlines are live. Fallen powerlines should be reported to ETSA Utilities on 131 366).
  • Keep clear of creeks and storm drains.
  • Do not ride or walk through flood water.
  • Consider the security of pets.

Weather information can be found on the Bureau of Meteorology website.

Motorists should:

  • Observe all road signs.
  • Be alert to sudden changes in road conditions.
  • Be aware of any fallen trees, branches and debris.
  • Drive carefully on wet and slippery roads.
  • Use their headlights if visibility is poor (and remember to turn them off when they have reached their destination).
  • Be aware of emergency service workers and others who may be working on the side of the road.
  • Avoid driving in extremely adverse conditions unless it is absolutely necessary, and if so, maintain an increased safe driving distance between your car and the car in front of you and reduce your speed.
  • Never attempt to drive in flood waters.
  • Stay tuned to local radio for current weather advice and warnings.

Information on what can be done after a storm.

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Smoke from a bushfire is made up of large particulate matter from burning debris which irritates the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.  The finer particles are able to penetrate deep in to the lung tissue and are more harmful.  Smoke also contains toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen oxides.  

Bushfire smoke, if present in high enough concentrations, can cause a number of health problems such as;

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Itchy or burning eyes
  • Throat irritation and runny nose, and
  • Illnesses such as Bronchitis

Smoke particles can also aggravate existing health problems such as Chronic Bronchitis, Emphysema, Asthma and heart conditions.  Symptoms can occur several days after exposure so it is important to be vigilant and to continue any previously prescribed treatment.

Signs and symptoms of exposure:

  • Difficulty breathing and or coughing
  • Chest tightness
  • Fatigue
  • Palpitations
  • Health precautions:

To minimise the effect from exposure to bushfire smoke:

  • Stay indoors with windows and doors closed, or
  • If possible stay in air-conditioned premises switching the air-conditioner to 'recycle' or 'recirculate' to reduce the smoke coming inside
  • Avoid vigorous activities, especially if you have Asthma or other chronic lung or heart conditions

It is especially important for people with Asthma to continue their medication.

If you know you are susceptible to bushfire smoke and it is safe to leave your house, consider:

  • Staying with a friend or relative whose house has clean indoor air; or
  • Leaving the area for a cleaner environment

If you have to be outdoors when bushfire smoke is present consider using a mask designed for fine particles (respiratory mask, which may also be labelled P2 or N95 masks). These are available from some hardware stores.

If you or your family members start to feel ill with the symptoms you should seek medical attention by:

  • contacting your GP
  • calling healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222; or
  • going to the Emergency Department of your nearest hospital.

Anyone experiencing difficulty breathing or chest pain should seek urgent medical advice by calling triple zero (000) for an ambulance.


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Only provide the status that is shown on the CFS website - do not provide advice contrary to this, even if you have been advised verbally by a CFS officer.


Any fire expanding in a certain direction or directions. Any incident that is expanding or continuing to require an active or escalated response.


A fire is contained when its spread has been halted, but it may still be burning freely within the perimeter or fire control lines.  Other incidents are contained when the spread or growth of the incident has been halted.


The time at which the complete perimeter of a fire is secured and no breakaway is expected.  For other incidents, the time at which the incident is secured and there is no possibility of extension or growth of the incident.


This is for non-fire and other incidents.  It is the time at which the incident is secured and there is no further need for CFS involvement.  Other services (Eg: Police) may still be involved in response or recovery operations.


The stage of fire suppression, prescribed burning or incident response when it is considered that no further suppression or control action or patrols are necessary.

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Question:       I have seen smoke in the area, is the fire service aware that there is a fire in my area?

Check the State Incident Summary for any fires in the area of the caller. If there is information in State Incident Summary that relates to the caller's locality please use this information ONLY to ascertain the status of the fire ("going" or "controlled" etc).

If there is no information in the State Incident Summary that relates to the caller's locality and you are not aware of any response activity in the area advice the caller to hang up and call 000.


Question:       I can see a lot of smoke; I am home alone and have no transport. What should I do?

Question:       I can see smoke and flames near my house - What should I do - Should I Evacuate?

Refer to CFS factsheet What to do in the event of a Bushfire

Question:       I am sheltering in my house; the fire is all around me, what do I do?

When fire front arrives

  • Retreat inside house
  • Bring buckets, hoses, mops etc inside with you.
  • Patrol inside for spot fires and extinguish
  • Check ceiling cavity
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Reassure family and pets

After fire front has passed

  • Return outside when safe to do so
  • Patrol for spot fires and extinguish
  • Continue to patrol for 3-8 hours
  • Let family and neighbours know you're okay
  • Continue drinking plenty of water
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CFS has developed a hierarchy of places that can offer relative safety from bushfire. They are broken into three categories, and are called Bushfire Safer Settlements, Bushfire Safer Precincts and Last Resort Refuges. It is important that you know what each of these are, where they are, and what risk you may be exposed to if you use one of these options during a bushfire.

Details are on the CFS website.

Hierarchy of Bushfire Safer Places in SA


BSP Arrow down gif



Inner Adelaide Metropolitan area Suitable for use during forecast bad fire weather or during bushfire.


Outer suburbs and rural settlements. Suitable for use during forecast bad fire weather or during bushfire. May be subject to spark and ember attack and smoke.


Ovals, buildings in rural areas. Not suitable for extended use and may provide only limited protection during bushfire.
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