With Summer now upon us, and the vivid memory of our last bushfire season still firmly in mind, now is the time to question if your business is prepared. Preparation should be considered whether a fire is caused by a bushfire or from any other source.
Findings within the Bushfire Royal Commission’s report highlighted that mitigating risks of fire is much more cost effective than responding to disasters as they occur.
Whilst you cannot prevent natural causes such as lightening, hot winds, you can take steps to prepare.
Like with any risk management, the management of fire risks need to be assessed and reduced as far as is reasonably practicable.
Identifying vulnerability is a good place to start and seeking out resources such as fire risks from local fire authorities and local councils will assist with your plans to ensure that your risk controls are adequate.
The WHS Act requires all workplaces to have an emergency plan. There is no better time than now to review yours to ensure it covers everything required such as:-
- Recovery – does your insurance policy cover you for bushfires?
- Evacuation Procedures (and how frequently you run tests and drills)
It is also a good time to clear area around the buildings, ensure the roof is in good condition and gutters are free from leaves and debris.
Building Codes and Australian Standards: -
If your business is within a high risk bushfire area, you should check the relevant Building Codes and Australian Standards to ensure that your building complies with requirements. Consideration should be given to the need for fire-resistant walls, floors, doors, etc to assist with slowing down the damage and time it takes for a fire to take hold.
Back up of records:-
Consider storing vital records in offsite secure storage, a fireproof safe or cloud storage to ensure business continuity.
If your business is in an area with unreliable mobile phone coverage, you may consider other means for communicating during a time of fire threat. Considerations may include portable radios and other devices that can continue to operate without reliance on electricity.
Training of employees is essential to ensure you staff know what to do in an emergency situation and how to use specific equipment if required.
For advice regarding your plans, please contact us at 1300 720 004 or [email protected]