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How to reduce fire risk on your farm

18 November 2015

Farms are exposed to a wide variety of risks, but some of them are perhaps more preventable than others. Take fire as an example. This is one hazard that is often overlooked, but has the potential to cause irreversible damage to your farming operations.

A report from the World Fire Statistics Bulletin titled the Real Cost of Fire in Australia suggests the cost of dealing with these incidents accounts for as much as 1.3 per cent of gross domestic product.

Protecting your premises by taking out farm insurance is just one way you can deal with the effects of fire. However, taking preventative measures will hopefully minimise the impact and possibly even prevent an incident from occurring.

It's wise to think carefully about how firefighters would reach your property.

Planning for bushfires

Bushfires are one of the biggest and most irreversible threats to businesses in Australia. While response mechanisms have improved over recent decades, you still can't be complacent when it comes to dealing with the risks.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that while most bushfires in Victoria are caused by lightning strikes on public land, a significant proportion are also the result of stray embers from agricultural burning. This is where a claim on your farm liability insurance may be necessary.

The Country Fire Authority of Victoria recommends having a strategic plan in place if your farm is in a high-risk bushfire area. This includes knowing what procedures to follow when moving stock and equipment, while also checking that machinery isn't affected.

It is also wise to think carefully about how firefighters would reach your property. The NSW Rural Fire Service points out that bridges and cattle grids could present a significant obstruction unless you've planned properly.

Reducing everyday fire risk

It's not just bushfires that present a threat to your day-to-day operations. Fires can be triggered at any time, anywhere, which is why your preparations needs to be as far-reaching as possible.

How will you protect your farm against fire?How will you protect your farm against fire?

The NSW Rural Fire Service suggests the safe storage of petrol and fuel is critical. It should ideally be kept away from other areas, and especially those where sparks could cause a fire.

Other recommendations include replacing and repairing damaged roofing, as embers could enter and spark a fire. Keeping vegetation short is also a way of minimising fire risk.

Taking a common sense approach to your farm could be the most effective first step towards reducing the likelihood of a fire occurring. Having a comprehensive farm insurance policy is one way of dealing with the financial aftermath.

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