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- Develop your bushfire response and emergency plan
- Stay informed
As a business owner it is your responsibility to make sure you, your staff and clients are safe in the event of a fire.
Create a bushfire response and emergency plan
A clear and concise bushfire response and emergency plan that your staff know how to use will go a long way to making sure they are safe.
You will need:
- to prepare your business premise to reduce fire risk
- an emergency kit which includes first-aid and supplies for up to three days. Make sure employees know where it is
- staff who have first-aid qualifications and train further staff if needed
- a list of contact details for staff members, including their emergency contact person Use our Staff details form (DOC 53 KB). Once you have filled in these documents, store them electronically, e.g. Dropbox.
Your plan should include the following:
- who will be in charge during a fire or an evacuation
- evacuation routes and emergency assembly sites. Make sure to include routes and information for special needs and culturally and linguistically diverse groups, including visitors or tourists
- how and who will communicate with employees and visitors during a fire
- how and who will check that records and other business assets are safe
- a plan for pay entitlements and leave arrangements for employees should they be stood down or told not to report to work because of a fire threat (and let them know in advance).
If you live in any at-risk area, join your local Community Fireguard group or attend a fire preparation meeting in your local community.
Stay informed download the VicEmergency app on your mobile devices:
Staying alert during the fire
In the event of a bushfire that's likely to affect your business, these steps will help you keep you, your staff and clients safe, while giving your business the best chance of recovery:
- Activate your emergency plan early – and stick to it.
- Follow the advice of emergency services.
- Stay informed and keep your clients and staff informed:
Listen to ABC Local Radio – Victoria's official emergency broadcaster
Visit the VicEmergency website for up-to-date information on bushfires and emergency response programs.
A telephone-based warning system will also be used to issue warnings to communities if there's an emergency, including a fire.
You may receive a text message to your mobile, or a voice message to your landline phone. When a message is issued, it will go to all phones linked to properties in a designated area by billing address (not your actual location at a given time).
Don't rely on receiving a message
- You must still prepare and have an action plan ready even if you haven't received an official message.
- If you live in an area that has a mobile 'black spot' it's important to have a landline phone – the landline phone should not be cordless because it won't work if you lose your electricity supply.
- If you receive a warning, act on its advice.
- If you don't understand the message, ask family, friends or neighbours for help.
- For help with English, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on free call number 131 450 – ask them to telephone the VicEmergency Hotline.
- Unless you urgently need emergency services (police, fire or ambulance) don't dial 000 for information.
Livestock, pets and other animals
If your business involves larger animals you should prepare a livestock fire plan. Agriculture Victoria website has information about livestock fire plans.
Businesses involving smaller animals (such as vets, pet stores and animal shelters) should consider them in the business fire plan.
Case Study: Recovering after a bushfire
'We were very lucky to have comprehensive insurance. Particularly as a new business it can sometimes be hard to get business insurance without being able to prove establishment and stability. Without our cover, it really would have been 50:50 if we could have kept on going.'
Kerrie Livingstone, Crumbs Gourmet Biscuits
Read more about Recovering after a bushfire.