Fire Awareness and Prevention
VICTORIAN farmers should consider the value of their properties and equipment as they prepare for a fire season that could be one of the worst in recent years warns the RACV.
Lower-than-average rainfall during winter and spring has left much of the state tinder dry.
With hot conditions forecast for the summer, all areas of Victoria are at risk of bushfire.
RACV general manager insurance Paul Northey urged farmers to spend some time to do a stocktake of their business to ensure properties and equipment are adequately insured, well before any fire threat is imminent.
“Once a fire starts it is too late to update your policy or take out insurance,” he said.
“We encourage property owners to review their cover and discuss any issues with your insurer as soon as possible.
“There is research to suggest that underinsurance can be an incentive to stay and defend a property and that’s the last thing we want to see.
“As difficult as it is to leave a home early – especially when the property is also your livelihood - it is the only choice that can guarantee the safety of you and your family.
“Knowing that your home and contents as well as your farming business, stock and equipment are adequately insured can help offer some peace of mind in a difficult situation,” Mr Northey said.
Farm insurance covers not only the farm machinery, tools and equipment but house and contents, fencing and livestock in the event of loss due to bush or grassfire.
“Unfortunately, underinsurance is common.
“People often underestimate the value of their property and equipment and how much it would cost to replace things like outbuildings, fences and machinery after a fire.
“Many farm fences were built by hand decades ago and materials and labour costs are much higher now.
“We recommend getting a quote from local contractors to find out the true value of what it would cost to replace fencing and buildings after a fire,” Mr Northey added.
Other things to consider are whether any new machinery has been purchased for the farm since the insurance was last reviewed, what the stock levels are and whether you need to be covered for stored feed.
“RACV urges Victorians living in fire-prone areas to make sure they have a carefully planned and rehearsed bushfire plan and to enact it as needed,” Mr Northey said.
The Country Fire Authority (CFA) provides comprehensive advice on how to learn more about high-risk bushfire areas, how to prepare your property for the bushfire season and how to create a bushfire plan to keep you and your family safe.
“Victoria is one of the world’s highest-risk areas for bushfire,” Mr Northey said.
“CFA is the expert authority and we urge everyone to make use of its resources.
“On its website, you can download a free FireReady app for smartphones and tablet computers that provides information about what to do during a fire and weather warnings.”
More information about how to prepare for and survive a bushfire is available from CFA online at cfa.vic. gov.au or by calling 1800 240 667.
FIRE PRONE: Victoria is one of the world’s highest-risk areas for bushfire.