If you’ve been running a business for a while, you’ve probably considered conducting a business fire risk assessment. With the goal of producing a Bushfire Risk Management Plan. Even though every company, big or small, must have an emergency management plan that meets Australian Standard 3745-2010.
We’ll look at various fire risk assessment activities in this post, focusing on bushfire risk. Furthermore, you should be able to assess the severity of your issue and decide whether to try to put together an emergency plan on your own or hire a professional emergency planner.
Specialists have determined that the climate is changing, and the risk of bushfires is increasing.
The weather and ecology have been changing dramatically over the last few decades. Storms and extreme weather are becoming more common. Just watching the news each night will reveal that another tragic climate-related incident has occurred somewhere around the world.
This fact strongly suggests that preparing for emergencies and keeping those we love and care for safe is becoming increasingly crucial. Includes your staff and the general public who may visit your establishment.
Is a bushfire indeed a threat to me?
A significant portion of the population is not at risk from bushfires right now. They usually live in cities’ downtown districts with populations of above 10,000 people. The possibility of being harmed is real by smoke and other combustion pollutants. Even in cities, parks and bush areas can significantly influence fire and affect many people. Businesses in actual danger, who may not have a Bushfire Risk Management Plan, are those that are close to one or more of the following:
Grassy fields and paddocks
Fires can spread quickly over grass and paddocks, especially when large fuel loads are due to spring rainfall. There is a substantial chance that companies in these areas may be negatively harmed by fire once the grasslands have fully cured (degree of dryness of the grass) in late spring to early summer.
Long grass and short grass can spread fire quickly, but the longer the grass, the greater the potential intensity and life-threatening radiant heat. If your business is near such fuel, you should take precautions to reduce wildfire risk.
Bushy places and trees
When it comes to living and working near the bush, there are numerous factors to consider. For example, topography and bush density, to name a few. Every summer, bush regions can pose a significant risk to people and businesses, but as climate change takes hold, the possibility for extended periods of dryness increases, amplifying the risk.
When we look at the history of bushfires in Australia, we see that they have a long history. Ash Wednesday and others in Victoria and South Australia were the most significant and most catastrophic fires. Both of these fires broke out near the end of a dry spell. As a result, as droughts become more common worldwide, there will be a greater risk of disastrous bushfires and life-threatening circumstances.
Avoid fires in areas near beaches and the shore. If your business is near these places, your exposure to a fire risk exceeds the fire department’s suppression capabilities, even with great firefighting planes.
The fuel loads are high, and there is generally slight fuel reduction burning. Businesses located within a few kilometres of one of these, the hazards are highly significant. The leading killer here is radiant heat, which might produce an atmosphere unfit for human survival combined with attacks from burning embers. As a result, risk minimisation is critical.
The rural-urban divide
Even though fire departments are more common in built-up residential regions of cities and towns, all of the above scenarios are valid here. The urban edges of towns and cities are where grassland and bush meet. There is still a significant danger of death.
Despite this, Australian law mandates that all enterprises maintain the safety of their employees and the general public. Putting that aside, it’s always a brilliant idea to safeguard your livelihood and, maybe, your loved ones.
Identifying the level of danger to your home or business
A few phrases used in disaster management circles define the foundation for emergency planning. They are as follows:
The key to ensuring that such plans are more than simply pretty words is to make them workable. You are carrying out a check and balance to see if it is appropriate for your situation.
Check with your next-door neighbour to see if the emergency plan will work for them. If it does, it’s most likely missing something. Something unique to your company’s operations. Emergency plans should be contextualised to your business and consider your neighbours.
Bushfire Risk Management Plan and risk matrix
The risk management matrix is something that most managers are familiar with—conducting a risk assessment of your company and identifying the likelihood and impact of specific disasters. Your local fire department may be able to assist you with historical information in this area.
Some dangers are more severe than others. In other words, fires are more often than hazardous material occurrences, and medical emergencies are more common than fires. This knowledge, combined with a thorough risk assessment, can help you avoid wasting time and resources on future catastrophes that are unlikely to occur.
When it comes to risk analysis and developing an emergency management strategy, an emergency management specialist can save time and money.
To sum it up
For millennia, grass and bushfires have been a critical aspect of the Australian landscape. Nonetheless, in an ever-changing climate, businesses exposed to bushfire and grassfire danger have a responsibility to establish emergency management plans to protect their employees and the broader public. The next topic in this series of essays will be protecting your investment.