The unit introduces students to basic fire safety engineering design concepts and presents the knowledge concerning occupant communication and response sub-models and subsystems as a basis for assessing the necessary input data for a risk assessment model. An introduction to Building Code of Australia (BCA) and Fire Engineering Guidelines is provided.
Important aspects of human behaviour during fire will also be introduced. Many assumptions generally held about the way humans respond to fire emergencies have been shaped by the media and provide a sensationalised view. In this unit, we will seek to clarify this view by presenting research to uncover what can truly be expected from people when a fire occurs. Statistics from coronial data will be examined to provide an overview of who is at most risk when a fire starts. The focus will be on urban and residential structure fires, but human behaviour during bushfires will also be discussed.
Other areas covered in this unit are:

  • Fire statistics and statistical analysis of occurrence, death and injuries.
  • Introduction to risk management including probability, reliability, fault trees, event trees.
  • The initiation and development of fires, fire characterisation and design fires.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Contextualise basic concepts and alternative acceptable frameworks for performance-based codes, with an application to fire safety engineering design;  
  2. Contextualise basic concepts of risk management and probabilistic risk assessment;  
  3. Propose fault tree and event tree;  
  4. Interpret and analyse fire statistical data;  
  5. Evaluate building evacuations in case of fire; and  
  6. Analyse toxicity and toxicological effects of fire and its effluents.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Assignment Assignment 1 (1250 words) 25%
Assignment Assignment 2 (2500 words) 50%
Report Analysis of risk and human response (1250 words) 25%

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