Extreme weather events dominated Australia last year, with 2016 recorded as the fourth-warmest year on record, and it’s showing no signs of cooling down in the start of 2017. With this warm dry weather comes another threatening bush fire season. It’s important that any business based close to dense forest, bush, grassland or the coast is prepared for bushfires.
As a business owner, it is your responsibility to be aware of the threat of bushfire in your area and ensure you keep your business and employees safe at all times. The key to surviving a bushfire season is to be prepared. Ansvar Insurance published a helpful guide, which detailed bushfire plans for the fire season. They warned that fire preparedness is a shared responsibility, and issued the following safety tips for businesses.
- Clear rubbish, long grass and other materials that may be prone to catching fire from your premises. This ‘circle of safety’ should extend at least a 20 metre radius around your buildings and properties.
- Ensure all gutters are cleaned regularly and install metal gutter guards.
- Make sure any flammable fuels and chemicals are stored away from the main premises, for example in an enclosed, fire-proof shed a few metres away from the building.
- Install sarking behind weatherboards and beneath existing roofing for extra protection. Sarking helps regulate your building temperature, whilst providing protection from hot or cold weather.
- Ensure your premises are bush fire ready by using toughened or laminated safety glass and installing metal flyscreens to doors and windows.
It’s also important to check your insurance policy to make sure you are adequately covered if disaster strikes. By checking your insurance policy now and better understanding your legal rights, you could save a lot of heartache and financial stress down the track.
Insured businesses should check their policies and ask themselves:
- Am I up to date with my payments?
- Does the sum insured on my building cover the total rebuild cost?
- Do I know where my policy is?
- Does my policy really cover what I think it covers?
- What can’t I claim for under the policy?
- Are there maximum amounts or limits I can claim?
If you are unsure about any of these questions, you should contact your insurance broker who can help to ensure you are adequately protected.
Conditions apply for each policy and the information expected from you for a policy to trigger. Coverage may differ based on specific clauses in individual policies. Please ask your broker to explain the additional benefits and exclusions pertaining to your policy.
The information provided is general advice only and does not take account of your personal circumstances or needs. Please refer to our financial services guide which contains details of our services and how we are remunerated.