Bushfire Response and Readiness Plan Template

By on November 18, 2020

GAVIN MOREIRA, CMPA Member Services Manager reports on the development of the latest CMPA publication – Bushfire Response and Readiness Plan Template.

In the 2020-21 financial year several CMPA Publications will be completed ready for Members to update their libraries. The second of these is Issue 1 – Bushfire Response and Readiness Plan Template.

The first Fire Management Workshop was held back in February 2019 in Wangaratta with approximately 21 attendees. Throughout the last eighteen months the Secretariat has been working with Members and Suppliers providing content and reviewing drafts to come up with the finished product.

Thank you to the contributions and presentations by Darren Viney, Manager Community Safety of the CFA North East Region, Brian Calovic of Conundrum Holdings and our writer David McKelvie of Safe Mix.

The guideline was launched at the second Fire Management Webinar back in September 2020, where 27 attendees were present online to listen to three key presentations.

David McKelvie of Safe Mix provided an overview of the template.

The objective of the Bushfire Response and Readiness Plan Template is to assist CMPA members in ensuring that procedures are in place and that responsibilities are defined and understood to prevent the ignition of a bushfire on a quarry site and or to reduce the impact of an encroaching bushfire.

The Code of Practice for Small Quarries (2010) section 5.8 Fire Management lists the following requirements (R) with the objective of ensuring that a quarrying activity does not contribute to, or exacerbate fire hazards:

  • R28. The Work Authority holder must take all reasonable measures to prevent the ignition and spread of fire
  • R29. The Work Authority holder must ensure that all buildings, fixed plant and mobile equipment are fitted with fire-fighting equipment, such as fire extinguishers, fire blankets, knapsack spray pumps and rake-hoes

The Code recommends that Work Authority holders establish the following practices:

  • Develop a fire management plan
  • Maintain appropriate fire – fighting equipment at a work site
  • Check the undersides of vehicles periodically to ensure they are kept free of vegetation debris that could dry out and ignite
  • Store flammable materials such as waste hydrocarbons away from ignition sources

The content of your plan should include information on the following headings:

Brian Calovic of Conundrum Holdings then provided a practical overview and example of their quarries Fire Response and Readiness Management Plan. This included information on.

Housekeeping, Leading up to a Fire Season:

  • Ensure first aid stations are stocked;
  • Water tanks fill points are easily identified and accessible;
  • Explosives magazines, gardens, buildings and workshops are clear of fire fuel, weeds and vegetation;
  • Hydrocarbons, gas bottles and flammable liquids are stored correctly and free from fire fuel;
  • Roof tops and gutters of buildings are cleaned as required.

Firefighting Equipment:

Ensure all equipment on site is serviced and ready for use when required;

All pumps and power generators must be audited and tested for operation;

Water tanks and water supplies can be fitted with CFA outlets;

Ensure pumps, fire suppression systems and drinking water/hydration facilities operate under generator power supply;

Test emergency evacuation sirens. Communication devices are tested on a daily basis;

Site communication and contact telephone numbers must be readily available.

The presentation also looked at preparing your employees to respond, their responsibilities, training, mental health, clothing and PPE requirements. The most important component of your plan is to ensure you have conversations and involve the CFA and Emergency Services with your management planning.

SITE PHOTO: 2014 Grampians fire.

Key point within CFA: L.A.C.E.S

  • Lookouts. Who is watching fire danger ratings? Has someone been allocated to the task?
  • Awareness. What fires are in your area?
  • Communication. Staff, SMS notification, emergency services, community/neighbours.
  • Escape routes. One-way in, One-Way out. What is the plan if entry/exit routes are not accessible during a fire event?
  • Safety zones. Travelling to and from work, fire location. 3-6pm is when most fires take off. A site Fire Management Plan given to the fire authority may not be used ‘on the day’. It is better to have a direct relationship with local services with a direct line of communication.

Darren Viney of the CFA provided a seasonal outlook for the upcoming fire season.

Last summer was very dry with significant fire activity, especially in the East and North East of the state. Drier than normal over winter – Parts of the Mallee, Wimmera and far South West as well as Alpine high country areas. Rain in the East. High levels of crop and grass growth.

A normal fire season is predicted with above average spring rain. Shorter duration, fast moving fires in grasslands and open woodland/forest. Increased grass growth and later curing. Grassfires may occur later in spring and into summer, plenty of fuel around.

The CFA offer free online training for workers on bushfire safety, takes about an hour and can be found at:

“A very informative webinar, well done to the presenters.”

“Presentations were very good and insightful.”

“The webinar covered the important points concisely. There was clearly a lot of homework done before the presentations. We students were the beneficiaries of the hard work done by others.”

The publication can be downloaded from the CMPA website https://cmpavic.asn.au/publications/support-sheets/

CMPA would like to thank those that contributed to the Template and would appreciate feedback on this document that will be considered when next issued.

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