Bushfire preparation – critical information for every business

Australian bushfires

After last year’s horrific bushfire season across Australia, bushfire preparation should be front and centre for every business owner in a bushfire prone area.

As a business owner or manager, it is your responsibility to understand the risks, prepare a bushfire plan, and ensure that you and your staff are clear on the required course of action before, during and after a fire threat.

As the leading independent supplier of fire and essential services, DEM Fire can help commercial property owners in urban areas with effective solution design, system installation, asset management and fire compliance.

While bushfire prevention is not our focus, we wanted to provide the following information which may be of interest to those in bushfire zones.

Fire danger rating sign

Understanding bushfire risk

Central to effective bushfire preparation is full awareness of the risks. Bush fire prone land (BFPL) maps are prepared by local councils and certified by the Commissioner of the NSW RFS. They indicate land susceptible to bushfire attack and may include properties close to bush, paddocks, grasslands or along the coast.

Business owners are responsible for fire hazards on site that might escalate bushfire risk.

These can include natural bushfire fuels such as mulch and woodpiles, and flammable liquids or gases including petrol, alcohol, LPG, kerosene and other chemicals.

Commercial property owners with sites located in or adjacent to bush fire zones should also be aware of fire behaviour. Fires can travel much quicker up slopes, and as a fire speeds up, it’s intensity increases. Hot, dry and windy conditions can make fires more extreme and unpredictable. Ash and burning twigs and leaves can be blown significant distances away from burning zones, posing a danger of spot fires.

Essential information including bushfire danger ratings and fire ban maps can be found on the NSW Rural Fire Service website. All staff should also be aware of the Fires Near Me website and app, which lists current fires and warnings.

Smoke detectors on evacuation plans

Designing a business bushfire plan

A bushfire preparation plan has two key purposes: i) to ensure the safety of all staff, volunteers and clients; and ii) to minimise risks with adequate property preparation such as asset management and regular maintenance that includes inspection and testing of all systems and equipment.

Plans should be clear, concise and readily available to all employees.

The nature and location of your business will help determine the outline of your bushfire emergency response plan. Essentially, it should include:

  • List of appointed staff to be in charge during fire or evacuation
  • Clear and practiced communication protocol to alert staff and customers of fire alerts, changing fire status and evacuation
  • Practiced evacuation procedures including route maps, signage and emergency assembly sites. This needs to include information for non-English speaking staff and clients; and those with limited mobility or requiring wheelchair access.
  • A full and regularly updated staff list, kept electronically and readily accessible from any computer or phone
  • Nomination of qualified first-aid officer/s with ready access to emergency first aid supplies
  • A regularly updated list of business assets plus nominated employee/s to check and monitor business assets
  • An animal evacuation plan for business with animals on premises
  • Detailed procedures for staff to attend work, evacuate or stay at home in the event of each fire classification warning prior to a fire, and alert level during a fire, including advice, watch and act and emergency warning.
  • A plan for employee entitlements or leave arrangements in the event of inability to attend work due to fire threat
  • Updated business insurance details and contacts.
Firefighters and emergency specialists

Dedicated team of fire experts

DEM Fire takes a holistic approach to solution design, system installation, asset management and fire compliance… and we have an exceptionally qualified team dedicated to first class fire prevention.

Our team includes several firefighters and emergency specialists who have spent years – sometimes decades – helping keep our communities safe with vital roles in Fire and Rescue NSW. So we understand the catastrophic effects that bushfires can have.

For comprehensive information on bushfire protection, we recommend you visit the NSW Rural Fire Service, or the relevant state rural fire service for your location.

Our team understands fire protection implicitly, and is committed to first-class, comprehensive solutions for fire prevention. Please contact us for full details on our services. Read more Fire Prevention Industry articles.

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