Prepare a bushfire emergency plan for small scale buildings
Bushfires can be devastating and unpredictable, causing significant loss of life and property. For small scale buildings, it is important to have an emergency plan in place to protect both people and assets. This article will outline the steps required to prepare a bushfire emergency plan for small scale buildings. Including determining the bushfire threat, identifying people and assets to be addressed in the emergency plan, discussing bushfire survival plan options and risks, and documenting the survival plan.
Section 1: Preparation for Emergency Plan Development
Developing an emergency plan for a small scale building requires careful planning and preparation. This section outlines the steps to be taken to prepare for the development of an emergency plan in consultation with the client.
1.1 Determine Scope of Emergency Plan and Develop Brief in Consultation with Client
The first step in developing an emergency plan is to determine the scope of the plan and develop a brief in consultation with the client. This may involve identifying the specific risks and hazards associated with the building and its location, as well as the needs and requirements of the occupants. It is important to engage the client in the development process to ensure that their needs and concerns are taken into account.
1.2 Locate Building on Maps and Arrange Site Visit
Once the scope of the emergency plan has been determined, the next step is to locate the building on maps and arrange a site visit. This will allow the emergency planning team to assess the building and its surroundings, identify potential hazards and risks, and determine the best strategies for responding to a bushfire emergency. During the site visit, it may be necessary to consult with the client, building owners, and other stakeholders to gain a better understanding of the building and its occupants.
1.3 Access and Review Regional Bushfire Management Plan for Location of Building
The regional bushfire management plan provides valuable information on the bushfire risk and management strategies for the area in which the building is located. This information can be used to inform the development of the emergency plan and ensure that it is aligned with the broader regional management strategy. The plan may include information on the likelihood of bushfires in the area, the potential impact of bushfires on the building and its occupants, and the strategies and resources available for managing bushfires in the region.
1.4 Access and Review Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) Rating for Building
The Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating provides an indication of the level of bushfire risk to a building based on factors such as its location, surrounding vegetation, and construction materials. The rating system is used to inform building design and construction standards, as well as emergency planning and response strategies. Accessing and reviewing the BAL rating for the building can provide valuable insights into the specific risks and hazards associated with the building and inform the development of the emergency plan.
Bushfire Attack Levels (BAL) explained
Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) is a system used in Australia to assess the level of bushfire risk to buildings and structures. The system provides a rating for the building based on factors such as its location, surrounding vegetation, and construction materials. The rating is used to inform building design and construction standards, as well as emergency planning and response strategies.
The BAL system was developed in response to the growing threat of bushfires in Australia, particularly in areas with high levels of bushfire activity. The system is designed to ensure that buildings in high-risk areas are designed and constructed in a way that minimizes the risk of bushfire damage and loss of life.
The BAL system consists of six levels, ranging from low risk to extreme risk:
BAL Low: There is considered to be a low risk of bushfire attack. No specific construction requirements apply, but general maintenance and vegetation management are recommended.
BAL 12.5: There is considered to be a moderate risk of bushfire attack. Specific construction requirements apply, such as non-combustible external walls and a metal roof or other non-combustible roofing material.
BAL 19: There is considered to be a high risk of bushfire attack. Specific construction requirements apply, such as the use of non-combustible materials for external walls, and the sealing of gaps and openings to prevent ember entry.
BAL 29: There is considered to be a very high risk of bushfire attack. Specific construction requirements apply, such as the use of non-combustible materials for external walls and roofing, and the use of tempered glass for windows.
BAL 40: There is considered to be an extreme risk of bushfire attack. Specific construction requirements apply, such as the use of non-combustible materials for external walls and roofing, and the use of toughened glass or shutters for windows.
BAL FZ: There is considered to be the highest risk of bushfire attack, known as Flame Zone. Specific construction requirements apply, such as the use of non-combustible materials for external walls and roofing, and the use of metal shutters or toughened glass for windows.
The BAL rating for a building is determined by assessing a range of factors, including the type and density of vegetation surrounding the building, the slope of the land, the prevailing wind conditions, and the construction materials used in the building. By assessing these factors, the BAL rating provides a comprehensive and standardized way of assessing the bushfire risk to buildings in high-risk areas.
In summary, the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) system is an important tool for assessing the level of bushfire risk to buildings in Australia. By providing a standardized rating system, the BAL system helps to ensure that buildings in high-risk areas are designed and constructed in a way that minimizes the risk of bushfire damage and loss of life.
Developing an effective bushfire emergency plan requires a thorough assessment of the bushfire threat.
The following steps can help to determine the key factors to be addressed in the emergency plan.
2.1 Conduct a site assessment for bushfire risk for building and other structures on site.
The first step in developing a bushfire emergency plan is to assess the risk of bushfire to the building and other structures on the site. This involves evaluating the surrounding vegetation, topography, weather patterns, and other factors that can contribute to the spread and intensity of bushfires. The Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating for the building, as discussed earlier, can also provide a useful indicator of the level of risk.
The site assessment should identify potential ignition sources, such as flammable materials or equipment, and consider strategies for minimizing the risk of ignition. It should also evaluate the potential for ember attack, which can occur when burning debris is carried by the wind and ignites flammable materials.
2.2 Determine and record location, number and characteristics of residents to be included in emergency plan.
An effective bushfire emergency plan should take into account the needs of all residents who may be affected by a bushfire. This includes permanent residents, as well as any visitors or guests who may be on the site at the time of the emergency. The emergency plan should identify the location, number, and characteristics of all residents, including any special needs or requirements.
For example, elderly residents or those with disabilities may require additional assistance to evacuate safely, while families with young children may need to prioritize the safety of their pets or livestock. The emergency plan should also include strategies for communicating with residents before, during, and after the emergency, such as through text messages or social media alerts.
2.3 Determine and record the location number and characteristics of livestock and pets to be included in an emergency plan.
Livestock and pets can also be at risk during a bushfire and should be included in the emergency plan. The plan should identify the location and number of animals, as well as any special requirements for their care and evacuation.
For example, horses may require trailers for transport, while smaller animals such as cats and dogs may need to be transported in carriers. The emergency plan should also identify potential evacuation sites for animals, such as local veterinary clinics or animal shelters.
2.4 Determine and record other assets to be included in the emergency plan.
In addition to residents and animals, there may be other assets on the site that require protection during a bushfire. This may include equipment, vehicles, or valuable possessions. The emergency plan should identify these assets, and include strategies for protecting them from fire damage or loss.
For example, vehicles may need to be moved to a safe location away from the fire, while valuable possessions may need to be packed and transported in advance of the emergency. The emergency plan should also consider strategies for securing the site, such as by installing fire-resistant shutters or barriers.
Developing an effective bushfire emergency plan requires a thorough assessment of the bushfire threat and the people and assets that may be affected. By conducting a site assessment for bushfire risk, identifying the location, number, and characteristics of residents and animals, and determining other assets to be included in the emergency plan. It is possible to develop a comprehensive and effective strategy for minimizing the impact of bushfires on small-scale buildings.
Developing a bushfire survival plan is essential to ensure the safety and well-being of people and assets in the event of a bushfire.
This plan should include various options and strategies that can be implemented depending on the severity and proximity of the bushfire. However, it is also important to consider the risks and potential challenges associated with these options. The following are some of the key factors to consider when developing a bushfire survival plan.
3.1 Discuss survival options for a bushfire event.
The first step in developing a bushfire survival plan is to discuss the available options with the client. The options may include evacuation, sheltering in place, or a combination of both. Evacuation may be the best option in cases where the bushfire is too close or too intense, or if there are limited resources available to protect the property.
Sheltering in place may be an option if the bushfire is not too close, or if there are limited resources available to evacuate. This option requires a well-prepared property that has been properly fire-proofed and has adequate resources, such as water and firefighting equipment, to defend the property.
3.2 Discuss key trigger points to implement survival options for a bushfire event.
It is essential to identify key trigger points that will determine when to implement the chosen survival options. These trigger points may include the severity and proximity of the bushfire, the availability of resources, and the level of risk to people and assets.
It is important to monitor the bushfire and have a clear understanding of its potential impact on the property. This will allow for timely decision-making and implementation of the appropriate survival option.
3.3 Identify and discuss key building and property maintenance actions leading up to bushfire season.
To minimize the risk of damage or loss from bushfires. It is important to undertake key building and property maintenance actions leading up to the bushfire season. These actions may include:
Clearing flammable vegetation and debris from the property
Trimming trees and shrubs to reduce the risk of fire spreading
Maintaining firebreaks around the property
Ensuring that gutters, eaves, and roofs are free of debris and easily accessible for firefighters
Installing fire-resistant shutters or screens on windows and doors
Ensuring that the property has adequate water supply and firefighting equipment
3.4 Identify and discuss components of emergency kit leading up to and during a bushfire event.
Preparing an emergency kit is an essential component of a bushfire survival plan. This kit should include items such as:
A first aid kit and any necessary medications
A portable radio and spare batteries to stay informed about the bushfire
A flashlight and spare batteries
A map of the local area and any evacuation routes
Non-perishable food and water for several days
Protective clothing such as sturdy shoes, long-sleeved shirts, and pants
A portable water filtration system
A portable generator and fuel if available
Important documents such as passports, insurance policies, and emergency contact numbers
3.5 Identify key resources and implications required for survival plan options.
Developing an effective bushfire survival plan requires access to key resources and an understanding of the implications of different survival options. This may include access to firefighting equipment and resources, such as water tanks, pumps, and hoses. It may also require an understanding of the local firefighting protocols and procedures.
The survival plan may have financial implications, such as the cost of property maintenance or the purchase of firefighting equipment. It is important to consider these implications when developing the survival plan and to allocate sufficient resources to ensure its effective implementation. Developing a bushfire survival plan requires careful consideration of the available options, the potential risks, and the resources required.
Once the site assessment and discussions with the client are complete
The next step is to document the survival plan in the form of an emergency plan. This plan should be comprehensive, easy to understand, and provide clear guidance for action in the event of a bushfire.
4.1 Collate assessment of site and discussions with client:
The first step in documenting the survival plan is to collate all the information gathered during the site assessment and discussions with the client. This information should include the location and characteristics of the building and other structures on site, the number and characteristics of residents, livestock, and pets, and other assets to be included in the emergency plan.
4.2 Select survival options and recommendations for emergency plan:
Based on the assessment of the site and discussions with the client, the next step is to select the survival options and recommendations for the emergency plan. This should include the identification of trigger points for implementing the survival options. Building and property maintenance actions leading up to the bushfire season, and the components of the emergency kit.
4.3 Prepare emergency plan according to industry standards:
Once the survival options and recommendations have been selected, the emergency plan can be prepared according to industry standards. This plan should include clear guidance on what to do in the event of a bushfire, including evacuation procedures, fire suppression techniques, and communication procedures. It should also identify the roles and responsibilities of each person in the emergency plan and provide contact information for emergency services and community resources.
4.4 Present emergency plan to client for feedback according to workplace procedures:
The emergency plan should be presented to the client for feedback according to workplace procedures. This is an opportunity for the client to review the plan and provide any additional input or recommendations. It is important to ensure that the client is satisfied with the emergency plan and understands its contents.
4.5 Review and respond to feedback from client:
Once the client has provided feedback, it is important to review and respond to the feedback. This may involve making amendments to the emergency plan based on the client’s feedback or providing additional clarification on certain aspects of the plan.
4.6 Amend emergency plan according to feedback from client:
Finally, any amendments to the emergency plan should be made based on the client’s feedback. The plan should be updated and finalised, and a copy should be provided to the client for their records.
In conclusion, documenting the survival plan in the form of an emergency plan is an essential step in preparing for bushfires in bushfire-prone areas. It is important to collate all the information gathered during the site assessment and discussions with the client. Select the appropriate survival options and recommendations, and prepare the emergency plan according to industry standards. By presenting the plan to the client for feedback and making any necessary amendments. The plan can be finalised and implemented to increase the chances of survival in the event of a bushfire.