Fire hazard study on refugee communities - talking to Sudanese in Toowoomba

Accepting the award in Brisbane

A James Cook University study investigating Sudanese refugees and their knowledge of fire safety has won a Safer Communities Award from Emergency Management Australia (EMA).
“The Sudanese Refugees and Fire Hazard Study”, a collaboration between Bushfire CRC researchers at JCU and the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, was conducted in Toowoomba, which is home to about 800 Sudanese refugees.
The report found Sudanese that had recently arrived in Australia did not know how to extinguish different types of fires and were unfamiliar with the different types of electrical appliances in Australia.
It generated a list of recommendations including that the QFRS build a closer rapport with Queensland’s Sudanese community and expand its education programs on emergency response and the triple zero procedure.
Project leader Dr Alison Cottrell said the Sudanese community, especially women, were keen to learn about fire safety so they could protect their families in Australia.
She also said it was critically important to educate new refugees.
“The research details what sort of information needs to be included when welcoming refugees into the community,” she said.
Dr Cottrell was thrilled with the award and said it was an outstanding result for the Bushfire CRC.
“This award indicates JCU’s commitment to local, state, and national issues and ways in which students can become involved in projects that can benefit the community,” she said.
Dr Cottrell is leader of Bushfire CRC project C1 Understanding Communities. Katie Glasgow, a former JCU student in the School of Tropical Environment Studies and Geography was the author of the repo