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Get your business bushfire ready

by Michaela Cowan
General Insurance Broker
May 9, 2023
4 min read

This bushfire season, remember to prepare your business, review your business insurance coverage, and make a bushfire plan. Here’s what you can do reduce your risk.

Fire authorities have urged businesses across NSW to prepare for a bad bushfire season, particularly as El Nino promises high temperatures and dry conditions during spring and summer.

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A well prepared premises is more likely to survive a bush fire and a well prepared business is more likely to maintain business continuity in the event that a bushfire occurs.

Know your risk

Businesses surrounded by bushland or adjacent to grassland and paddocks are at a higher risk of bushfire, even if the premises is a few streets back from scrub or grassland.

You can check if you’re in a bushfire-prone area by entering your address in this RFS tool, or find a Bush Fire Prone Land Map on your local council’s website.

Prepare a bushfire plan

Having a bushfire plan in place means you and your employees know exactly what to do in the event of severe fire danger.

All employees should be aware of the plan and the evacuation checklist so they can put it into action without delay and provide direction for clients or other people on the premises. Your employees should be encouraged to contribute to the plan and identify what their individual needs are, as well as what their role will be on the day.

If the worst happens and your business is burnt in the fire, or even if you are forced to evacuate and cannot return to your property for a period of time, it is important to back up any critical documentation for business continuity.

Consider storing your documents in the cloud, and keeping passwords and log-in details securely off site so you will be able to access them from anywhere. This should include your business insurance policies.

Get bushfire ready:

  • Discuss what to do if a bushfire threatens your business
  • Document your bushfire and business continuity plans
  • Prepare your premises for bushfire season
  • Train your staff on the bushfire and business continuity plans
  • Know the bushfire alert levels
  • Save the Bushfire Information Line (1800 679 737) and download the Fires Near Me

Fire-proof your commercial property

Prepare your premises and keep it maintained:

  • Clean gutters of leaves and twigs
  • Attach a fire sprinkler system to gutters
  • Install fireproof window shutters, metal gutter guards, non-combustible window frames and doors, and toughened glass
  • Keep combustible materials in flameproof containers
  • Repair or cover gaps in external walls or roofs
  • Keep lawns and gardens well maintained
  • Cut back trees and shrubs overhanging buildings
  • Have hoses long enough to reach around the premises
  • Make sure your premises has fire hydrants that can be easily located and not obstructed
  • Check and maintain adequate levels of building insurance and ensure this is up to date

It’s also important to regularly practice, review and update your bushfire evacuation drill to ensure you are ready if an emergency should happen.

Make sure your plan includes those important last-minute preparations that will give your premises the best chance to survive a bushfire when you are not there to defend it.

If the worst happens and your business is burnt in the fire, or even if you are forced to evacuate and cannot return to your property for a period of time, it is important to back up any critical documentation for business continuity.

Review your business risks and insurance policies

Ensure your business is adequately insured by annually reviewing your business insurance policy, as underinsurance is a common issue, particularly concerning bushfire damage. Many business owners have insurance, but it may not provide sufficient coverage to replace all potential losses.

Consider the additional expenses associated with rebuilding your business premises, including demolition, clearance, and compliance with new construction codes. It’s crucial to factor in the rising costs of building materials and development, ensuring that your premises is insured for its current rebuilding value.

Be vigilant about common exclusions in insurance policies. While having insurance to protect your business and property from bushfire damage is vital, it’s equally important to verify that your coverage is comprehensive. Some policies may only cover damage caused directly by fire or flames, leaving you unprotected against heat, soot, smoke, or ash damage.

Consider business interruption insurance

The time to get your business back up and running may be longer than you think, and can affect your suppliers and customers, as well as you. Having business interruption insurance could help you get through any business disruptions.

Get your business bushfire ready

If you haven’t reviewed your business insurance for a while, now is a great time to do so. We offer complete insurance solutions. Let us help you.

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This article provides information rather than financial product or other advice. The content of this article, including any information contained in it, has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the appropriateness of the information, taking these matters into account, before you act on any information. In particular, you should review the product disclosure statement for any product that the information relates to it before acquiring the product.

Information is current as at the date the article is written as specified within it but is subject to change. NewSure Insurance Brokers Pty Ltd make no representation as to the accuracy or completeness of the information. Various third parties have contributed to the production of this content. All information is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NewSure Insurance Brokers Pty Ltd.


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