Australia to Face Higher Than Usual Bushfire Risk This Summer
Posted on 01 January, 2018
In 2017, Australia experienced a particularly dry winter – the ninth driest on record, to be exact – as such, a senior climatologist with the Bureau of Meteorology has warned that there will be an increased risk of bushfires for the 2017/18 summer season.
Agata Imielska says that the below average soil moisture in the eastern and central parts of Australia, as well as forecasted heatwaves, will see parts of the country falling into a higher risk category this bushfire season.
Rob Rogers, the deputy commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service and Gary Cook, Victoria’s Fire Authority deputy chief officer, both said that although local communities and families are given plenty of education and resources to assist them with fire preparedness, very little of this advice is being actioned.
“It’s getting the community to take responsibility for the environment that they live in,” Cook said. “The fire agency is only one piece of the puzzle in managing fire…We continue to emphasise the need to have survival plans, to listen to fire danger ratings, so that [the community’s] behaviours start to reflect the information that is put before them, and they know what to do with that information.”
So, exactly what is that advice?
Tips for Preparing for Bushfire Season
Every business and household, especially those with property within a bushfire zone or a high-risk area should have a bushfire plan in place well before summer hits. This should include an action plan that includes the whole family on what should be done, during, before, and after bushfire season, as well as what will happen in the event of an evacuation. This plan should include things like:
- Keeping gutters clean
- Keeping equipment, like hoses, rakes, and buckets in easily accessible places
- Keep track of fire warnings and fire ratings
- Don’t burn off
- Ensure any fire hydrants are full and in working order, and that everyone knows where fire safety equipment is stored
- If a fire is approaching, fill your gutters with water, hose down your garden and the exterior of your home, surround your home inside and out with as many full containers of water as possible
- If an evacuation warning is issued and you have children, animals or elderly family members with you, get them to safety
- Review your insurance policies and premiums to make sure you have the financial protection you need if your property is damaged in a fire
Don’t wait until it’s too late to update your insurance policy.Many insurers now provide an extra cover feature which protects against a declared catastrophic event such as a bushfire. This extra cover is provided to meet the increased cost of repairing or rebuilding homes due to a labour and materials shortage resulting from high demand with a large number of claims. If you live in a high-risk bushfire area check your policy to ensure you have this extra cover feature.
To find out what coverage is included in your home and contents insurance policy, or your business premises insurance, talk to your experienced insurance broker at Donnellys today.
For extra guidance on what to do to prepare your property and family this summer, make sure you visit your state’s fire authority for guidance and put their suggestions into action.
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