Prepare your business for disasters
This free toolkit has been developed to help you get your business ready for disasters in five simple steps.
Preparing for a bush fire or emergency
Bush Fire Survival Plan
Bush fire danger ratings and Total Fire Ban
Catastrophic Fire Danger Rating
RFS Alert Levels
Stay up to date
Contact list for emergency support services
Bush fire insurance cover
Council’s emergency management
It is important that people who live in or regularly visit a bush fire prone area have a Bush Fire Survival Plan for themselves, their family and their homes and properties.
It is your responsibility to plan and prepare for a bush fire in your area, and it is critical that you understand your own personal level of risk.
The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has produced a range of information to help in the bush fire survival planning process, including how to prepare a Bush Fire Survival Plan.
The NSW RFS has also produced a wide variety of fact sheets relating to bush fires. Go to rfs.nsw.gov.au/resources/factsheets for the full list.
Following is a list of other resources you might find helpful:
For further advice on bush fire survival planning and/or property preparation, contact your local Rural Fire Brigade or the RFS Blue Mountains District Office on 4784 7444.
Bush fire danger ratings are issued during the bush fire danger period.
Fire Danger Ratings give you an indication of the consequences of a fire, if one was to start. The higher the fire danger, the more dangerous the conditions. You should use the Fire Danger Ratings as a trigger to take action.
Bush fires are more likely to spread and cause damage on days when the weather is very hot, dry and windy. These are usually on very high to extreme fire days.
Total Fire Ban rules
No fires during a Total Fire Ban. A total fire ban means no fires out in the open. A total fire ban helps limit the potential of fires developing.
During a Total Fire Ban you cannot light, maintain or use a fire in the open, or to carry out any activity in the open that causes, or is likely to cause, a fire.
General purpose hot works (such as welding, grinding or gas cutting or any activity that produces a spark or flame) are not to be done in the open.
The NSW RFS strongly recommends you reconsider activities such as such using a tractor or slashing, to help reduce the chance of a fire starting on your property. Under certain conditions, the NSW RFS may issue a Harvest Safety Alert.
The RFS provide advice on what you should do on a Catastrophic Bush Fire Danger Rating Day.
During a Bush Fire Danger Rating of Catastrophic, and depending on the location of any fire activity within the Blue Mountains LGA, Council services may be closed.
During a bush fire, Alert Levels are used to give you an indication of the level of threat from a fire.
Remember – don't wait for a warning. Some fires start and spread so quickly there may not be any time for a warning. If you get a Bush Fire Alert, you must take it seriously. Failure to take action can result in death or injury to you or your family members.
Continue to stay up to date with the bush fire situation by:
For a list of emergency numbers go to bmcc.nsw.gov.au/community-safety/emergencies-contacts-useful-links or download a printable version of the emergency contacts and information flyer here.
There are many organisations who can assist you with the psychological effects of an emergency.
The Employee Assistance Program has also opened up their phone lines to all members of the community, not just those of us who are working for a participating employer, during this period. The Crisis Support Line is open 24/7 and can be reached at: 1300 361 008.
Is your insurance current and adequate?
The cost of building or rebuilding your home to current bush fire protection standards can be significant, and under-insurance has been a major issue in recent bush fire disasters. You should check with your insurer each time your policy is renewed to ensure that building to modern standards has been taken into account in your insured value.
All councils are required to map land that is considered bush fire prone in accordance with guidelines published by the Rural Fire Service. Mapping for the Blue Mountains is publicly available through our interactive mapping.
Bush fire prone property classification is simply a trigger for consideration of bush fire protection measures as part of a development, and does not convey any information about the level of risk at a given site. A site specific bush fire attack level (BAL) assessment is required to determine these requirements.
The BAL will influence the level of construction, and therefore the cost, of building/rebuilding on a property. The BAL rating needs to be determined on a case by case basis and it is not possible to provide property owners with their BAL rating on a rates notice or property certificate.
Information to assist residents in determining the BAL rating for their house is available at rfs.nsw.gov.au. Further information can be obtained from a qualified bush fire consultant, with Fire Protection Association of Australia (FPAA) accreditation. A list is available at fpaa.com.au. Alternatively a BAL Certificate may also be obtained from Council using the BAL Certificate Application form.
We play an important role in supporting responses to emergency events, including providing specialist plant (such as water tankers), equipment and personnel to agencies involved in emergency response and disaster recovery.
We provide and support the Emergency Operations Centre if a coordinated multi-agency response to an emergency is required.
We also facilitate and provide executive services to the Local Emergency Management Committee, which is made up of representatives of each emergency service and other supporting agencies that operate within the local government area. One of the key responsibilities of this committee is to produce a Local Emergency Management Plan, which details arrangements to coordinate emergency response and recovery operations during major emergency events.
As a land manager, Council undertakes a range of work to reduce bush fire risk, including:
Council is a member of the Blue Mountains Bush Fire Management Committee (BFMC), which consists of representatives of land management and emergency service organisations within the City. This committee is responsible for developing and coordinating fire management strategies for the whole of the Blue Mountains local government area. One of its primary roles is to produce a Blue Mountains Bush Fire Risk Management Plan to guide fire management activities - see the RFS website for more.