Checklist - Bushfire preparation

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Last updated on November 11, 2015

It is important to understand the bushfire danger to your business and to prepare your business for this danger. Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012, employers have a duty of care to employees and visitors when they are on your property or undertaking a service provided by your business. Use this checklist to help assess whether you are adequately prepared for a bushfire. See the Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) website for further information www.fire.tas.gov.au

You can download this checklist here.

General

  • Consider whether bushfire is a risk to your business. For further information on your bushfire risk, contact your local fire brigade or TFS regional headquarters, see www.fire.tas.gov.au
  • If you are in a bushfire prone area, you may consider getting an accredited bushfire risk assessment. Familiarise yourself with your Community Bushfire Protection Plan available on the TFS website www.fire.tas.gov.au or call 1800 000 699 for a copy.
  • Understand the Fire Danger Rating System and identify what Fire Ban District(s) your business operates in, see www.fire.tas.gov.au
  • Include risk mitigation strategies for bushfire in your Business Continuity Plan. A Business Continuity Plan template is available from www.business.tas.gov.au
  • Think about your insurance needs in relation to fire and make sure your chosen policy provides an appropriate level of cover for your business and that you understand any requirements.
  • Keep a back-up copy of critical documents and business data in a secure off-site location.

Infrastructure and property

  • Ensure general maintenance around your business premises is up to date.
    • Remove woodpiles, rubbish heaps, dry leaves and other fuels to a safe distance from buildings (to form a fire break).
    • Prune lower branches of trees close to buildings, remove shrubs and small trees selectively and clear roof and gutters of leaf debris. Check with your local council first to see if you need a permit or consent.
    • See the TFS Bushfire Survival Plan for further information on how to prepare your property www.fire.tas.gov.au
  • Consider making changes to your business buildings/property to protect against bushfire:
    • Install non-flammable areas (paths, driveways, lawns) around buildings.
    • Seal all gaps in your building – enclose areas under decks and floors; screen vents in to roof spaces, doors and windows with fire wire mesh; seal gaps in roof and wall cladding.
    • Replace highly flammable plants with plants with low flammability. See the Fire Resisting Garden Plants brochure on the TFS website www.fire.tas.gov.au for further information on low flammability plants.
    • Have firefighting water supply available (reticulated or minimum 10 000 static supply). If you have a static supply (tank), make it accessible by fire trucks and ensure that it is fitted with a hose and pump. Keep in mind that plastic tanks and pipes will melt. Steel or concrete is preferable.
    • Have a plan for animals and/or livestock in case of a bushfire. This includes livestock owners (including poultry and horses) registering their properties with Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment via the Property Identification Registration and Amendment System at pras.biosecurity.tas.gov.au/pras/ui
  • Have firefighting water supply available (reticulated or minimum 10 000 static supply). If you have a static supply (tank), make it accessible by fire trucks and ensure that it is fitted with a hose and pump. Keep in mind that plastic tanks and pipes will melt. Steel or concrete is preferable.
  • Have a plan for animals and/or livestock in case of a bushfire. This includes livestock owners (including poultry and horses) registering their properties with Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment via the Property Identification Registration and Amendment System at pras.biosecurity.tas.gov.au/pras/ui

Staff and business visitors

  • Ensure your staff and guests are aware of emergency evacuation procedures and familiar with their roles during an evacuation, including knowing the trigger for activating emergency plans, how information will be communicated, and knowing their exit routes and nearby safer places.
  • Ensure your staff and guests know where to access official sources of information in an emergency (for example, TasALERT website and social media, emergency broadcaster, ABC local radio).
  • Consider how you would communicate information to staff, guests or customers in the event of an emergency (e.g. bulletins, meetings, notice board, or social media).
  • Ensure a list of emergency and staff contact numbers is available to staff.
  • Ensure you have an appropriate number of staff trained in first aid and that the contents of your first aid kit are regularly checked and restocked. Further information about first aid requirements is available from WorkSafe Tasmania www.worksafe.tas.gov.au
  • Prepare an emergency kit and store in a large plastic container. Include an emergency radio (battery, solar or hand crank) and torch. See Part 3 of the Business Continuity Plan template for further information.
  • If staff travel in vehicles during the work day, make sure you have procedures in place for what they should do in an emergency situation.
  • Identify a place on your property where you can shelter if you are unable to leave your property in time and make sure to include this in your emergency plan. For more information on preparations for staying, see the TFS Bushfire Survival Plan on the Bushfire Ready Neighbourhoods page for further information on how to prepare your property www.fire.tas.gov.au
  • During an emergency, keep yourself, your staff and guests updated by checking the TasALERT website www.alert.tas.gov.au and social media, and by listening to the emergency broadcaster, ABC local radio www.abc.net.au
  • For general fire enquiries contact the Tasmania Fire Service on 1800 000 699.
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