Fire Aware­ness and Pre­ven­tion

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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