Stay or Go media briefing

Vital decisions that could save lives and homes

“Prepare, stay and defend or leave early” – a national briefing for journalists to launch new evidence supporting a controversial bushfire action policy developed by Australian bushfire agencies.

The bushfire season has arrived all too soon in most states and already a number of properties have been lost. However new research is shedding light on one of the most difficult decisions anyone may have to face; whether to stay and defend the family home during a major bushfire, or leave early.

For the first time scientists from around Australia are pooling their bushfire research. Researchers have drawn from real life examples to demonstrate that while leaving early is the right decision for some, preparing the home so that it can be defended may save lives and property.

The Australian Science Media Centre in collaboration with the Bushfire Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) has gathered a panel of experts and invites journalists to meet them and discover some great story opportunities.

What new research shows:

  • Defending your home doesn’t mean paying with your life
  • Most deaths happen because people leave too late
  • Houses that are well defended can be saved
  • Spot fires not ‘wildfire’ are what usually destroys homes

Presenters include:

Professor John Handmer , Director of the Centre for Risk and Community Safety, RMIT University. What research reveals about the way people behave in a bushfire.

Justin Leonard , Experimental Scientist from CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems. His research shows what happens to homes and suburbs in a bushfire.

Alan Rhodes, Manager of Community Safety Research and Evaluation at the CFA (Country Fire Authority). He has recently given evidence at the coronial inquest into the Eyre Peninsula bushfires and will talk about homeowners and risk assessment.

Claire Mullen , Climate Communicator, Bureau of Meteorology. She will assess the season’s bushfire prospects now El Nino has officially kicked in.

More information will be available on our website

We would encourage journalists to register their interest before the event. Please contact the AusSMC on (08) 8207 7415

Main contact people are:

AusSMC : Peta Newbold 08 8207 7419, 0410 496 800

Bushfire CRC : David Bruce 03 9412 9606, 0414 223 281

There will be a short presentation by each speaker followed by questions. Audio files will be posted on the AusSMC website as soon as possible after the event.

The Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) is an independent national venture working to promote the voices, stories and views of the Australian scientific community to the news media when science is in the headlines. The centre is advised by a Science Advisory Panel and governed by a Board of Management. A wide variety of sectors support the not-for-profit centre with each contribution capped at 10% of total running costs. Foundation sponsors are Fairfax Holdings, the ABC, News Ltd, Macquarie Bank, APN News & Media, PBL, the CSIRO, RACI, ResMed Inc, Ernst & Young, Shell, Prime TV, Media Monitors, Innovative Research Universities Australia and the Govt of SA. Gold Sponsors are Johnson Winter & Slattery, BHP Billiton and the University of Adelaide.

Venue: HWT Tower, Level 18 Auditorium, 40 City Rd, Southbank


Release date

Mon, 16/10/2006