Spring has arrived and summer is on the way. From a risk perspective in Australia that means one thing: bushfire season. With bushfire season starting notably earlier than usual in recent years, leaving preparations until December or even November is too late. Now is the time to make sure your business is bushfire ready.
For those in rural and regional parts of Australia, the risk is obvious. If you have staff working on site, or accommodate guests, your first priority should be ensuring your evacuation plan is in place and has been tested. When it comes to protecting buildings or other onsite assets, good housekeeping and year-round maintenance are the key to good preparations. Ensure gutters are clear, that debris and flammable items are not being stored near buildings, and that sprinklers, water pumps and any fire suppressant equipment is in working order. Trees should also be trimmed back from power lines and grass cut to create a buffer around buildings.
Businesses should also connect with your local fire service for an update on local conditions and any advice or information specific to preparing for fire season in your local area. The benefits of having strong plans and preparations in place also extend beyond protecting your business, property, staff and customers. Insurers are increasingly interested in risk reduction efforts when it comes to bushfires and having good risk management plans in place could save you money upon renewal.
It’s not just rural businesses that need to be aware of bushfire risk. Bushfires can also have an impact on city-based businesses, due to the secondary effects of such an event. Following past events we’ve seen bushfires interrupt supply chains, so rather than relying on a single supplier for a particular item, it helps to know where else you’d be able to source that item if required. And bushfires also create demand surge, where there can be a shortage of skilled tradespeople and building materials following an emergency event, as clearance and rebuilding efforts take priority.
Businesses in all areas also face a risk from bushfire smoke if it remains stagnant across an area. The risks that come with smoke exposure include the potential for health and safety issues or loss of stock from smoke contamination. While the summer weather outlook is not yet known, the Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a wet spring for eastern Australia, extending into southern West Australia. which will increase growth that could then be susceptible to drying out an increasing the fuel load, while a dry outlook is forecast for more westerly parts.
For more information
If you’re concerned about your bushfire exposure and would like help assessing your risk, you can contact the Gow-Gates team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us on 1300 165 116.
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