Examining the resilience of communities to fire

About this project

Project description

The proposed project aims to identify behaviours and practices in communities which can lead to greater (or lesser) vulnerability to fire hazard, so that community and individual practices for good fire safety outcomes can be identified. The work will build on a proposed framework for studying the resilience of communities exposed to fire. Initially developed at UQ, the framework has been applied in initial studies to bushfire and wildfire prone communities.

This framework will be further developed and will be used as a basis to study communities which are vulnerable to fires in India and in Australia. The output from the individual analyses will be an identification and classification of behaviours which positively contribute to Fire Safety Outcomes. The different communities studied with varying vulnerability profiles can be used to inform policy and planning and to improve fire safety outcomes for communities which are likely to be impacted by fire.

This interdisciplinary project draws on both policy research and fire safety engineering.

The first year of the research project, accounting for course work requirements at IIT Delhi, will be spent studying and further developing the framework and the analysis methodology. Specific issues to be addressed include:

  • how to separate or address the collinearity and overlap of behaviours.
  • development of a data collection methodology/ies.

In the second and third years of the research project, the student will apply the framework to communities in both India and Australia. Both primary and secondary sources of data collection will be explored, including e.g. interviews and surveys; as well as literature and incident reports after fires.

Finally, comparisons between the various communities will be made to further understand the contribution of various behaviours and practices to community resilience. If time permits other hazards that may cascade or enhance the fire hazard may also be explored.


The project deliverables will be

  1. A framework and methodology for analysing community resilience to fire (and other natural) hazards.
  2. Set of practices and behaviours that enhance or attenuate the vulnerability and resilience of communities to fire hazard
  3. Detailed information about the resilience of case-study communities vulnerable to fire hazard in India and Australia.

Information for applicants

Essential capabilities

Strong analytical and comprehension abilities

Desireable capabilities

Any experience with field data collection

Expected qualifications (Course/Degrees etc.)

A good eligible first degree in Economics, Sociology, Geography, Environmental science, Fire Safety Engineering, Safety science

Project supervisors

Principal supervisors

UQ Supervisor

Dr David Lange

School of Civil Engineering
IITD Supervisor

Assistant professor Upasna Sharma

School of Public Policy