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Why your organisation needs a bushfire emergency plan

With the increasing heat and raging bushfires across the country, it is an important time to stop and assess the adequacy of your organisation’s emergency plans in response to a bushfire.

For businesses that operate in bushfire-prone areas, it is essential to have a bushfire safety plan in place to ensure the health and safety of your workers. A bushfire safety plan can be included as part of an overall emergency management plan.

By Michael Selinger

With the increasing heat and raging bushfires across the country, it is an important time to stop and assess the adequacy of your organisation’s emergency plans in response to a bushfire.

For businesses that operate in bushfire-prone areas, it is essential to have a bushfire safety plan in place to ensure the health and safety of your workers. A bushfire safety plan can be included as part of an overall emergency management plan.

Understanding how a bushfire behaves is critical to ensuring your workers’ health and safety.

A bushfire spreads as a result of burning embers, radiant heat and direct flame contact, and its ferocity and speed is exacerbated by the wind, terrain, temperature and vegetation. As stated in the final report from the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, ‘all fires are different in ways that require an awareness of fire conditions, local circumstances and personal capacity’.

Undertaking a risk assessment to determine the risk of a bushfire to your operations is the first step in ensuring the safety of your workers and your business.

For your risk assessment, it is important to note that a bushfire:

You should also take into account that key areas of risk for workers may include:

Your emergency management plan should address specific procedures which take into account these variables, in the event your business is subject to a bushfire threat.

It is therefore essential to understand your business and revise your approach, policies, procedures and plans to ensure bushfire safety. You should work with your local community and municipal council to develop bushfire plans in respect of evacuation, facilities and shelter in your community.

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