Survive and Thrive


The Survive and Thrive program, led by the Anglesea Fire Brigade and Anglesea Primary school aimed to teach children about bushfire behaviour and how to live in a bushfire risk environment. The Unit provided initial support in the planning of the program and in research and evaluation. University of Melbourne School of Engineering also provided environmental sensors and monitoring equipment for use in the program.

Project Summary

The assessment of the Anglesea Survive and Thrive program was a small pilot study of the children’s understanding of bushfire behaviour before and after the program. When fires threatened their coastal town the following summer, it was also possible to investigate how children applied their learnings – a vary rare contribution to the disaster risk reduction evidence.

The first cohort of students has now graduated the Survive and Thrive Program at Anglesea Primary School and two other groups are currently in progress.


A brief summary of the findings is available here.

The results showed that the children enjoyed the Survive and Thrive program and valued the life skills they acquired. The children demonstrated knowledge and skills gained in monitoring environmental risks and bushfire behavior, as well as a more nuanced understanding of the different civic roles of adults and children in responding to a bushfire in different contexts. Faced with the reality of a nearby bushfire during the summer holidays, children demonstrated their capacity for critical thinking and application of their knowledge to support appropriate action.

Key Papers

Project Team

  • Prof Lisa Gibbs
    Prof Lisa Gibbs, Jack Brockhoff Child Health & Wellbeing Program
  • Dr Karen Block
    Dr Karen Block, Jack Brockhoff Child Health & Wellbeing Program
  • Colin MacDougall
    Colin MacDougall, Jack Brockhoff Child Health & Wellbeing Program
  • Greg Ireton
    Greg Ireton, Jack Brockhoff Child Health & Wellbeing Program
  • Hannah Morrice
    Hannah Morrice, Jack Brockhoff Child Health & Wellbeing Program
  • Alana Pirrone
    Alana Pirrone, Jack Brockhoff Child Health & Wellbeing Program


  • Jamie McKenzie
    Jamie McKenzie, Country Fire Authority
  • Emma Taunt
    Emma Taunt, Country Fire Authority
  • Allison Kealy
    Allison Kealy, Melbourne School of Engineering, University of Melbourne


Contact Name
Lisa Gibbs