BUSHFIRES

 

DO YOU HAVE A BUSHFIRE PLAN?

 

Unfortunately we are heading into Bushfire season once again and, it is a good time to check your fire plans.

Dairy Australia has some good resources for developing a fire plan for your dairy or property and also some great checklists and advice in this area.

 

The website addresses www.dairyaustralia.com.au and

www.cfs.sa.gov.au are a useful starting point.

 

A three step plan is recommended based on the following:

  • Preparation
  • Response
  • Recovery

 

Preparation

 

A key to minimising the impact of fire on your business is to think ahead and be prepared.

 

  • Refuge paddock

At the start of the fire season, identify a suitable refuge paddock such as a green summer crop or bare paddock in the middle of your farm with good laneway access. Have a clear plan about how and when animals will be moved.

  • Remove weeds and debris

Slash and spray along fences and disc around buildings to create a bare soil fuel break. Clear rubbish and debris regularly from around your property.

  • Fencing

Fencing may be lost in a fire and it can be hard to calculate your replacement needs on the spot. You can use a mud map to record in advance the approximate length of fencing on your property, especially your outer perimeter.

  • Hay and silage management

Make an inventory and consider the location of your hay silage stocks.   Are they stored in more than one place on your property to reduce risk? Try to ensure the location is protected from ember attack and stored in a well-maintained shed.

  • Machinery and chemicals inventory

Keep an approximate inventory of your chemicals and machinery, and identify where they can be stored safely.

 

  • Water

You will need easy access to water and a well-maintained, working petrol/diesel pump. Mark all your water sources located on the mud map overleaf.

  • Private fire-fighting equipment

It is good practice to test your fire-fighting equipment at the beginning of each fire season

  • Power

Outages could significantly disrupt your recovery, so plan to have a power generator, or wiring ready for a generator, to keep you milking and help to maintain milk quality.

  • Marking the herd

Marking the milking herd will help you sort mixed livestock ready for the first milking after a fire event.

  • Insurance

Check the wording of insurance policies – do you have sufficient cover? What other actions would help should you need to make a claim e.g. an inventory of valuable assets including machinery with supporting photographs?

  • Shareholder/leasing agreements

Have you discussed emergency scenarios in advance with owner/s to ensure everyone understands expectations and shareholder/leasing contractual conditions around ongoing rental payments etc?

  • Farm records

Keep important farm records, contracts and documents in a safe place or together as part of your relocation kit (with family documents).

 

 

RESPONSE

Check fire warnings regularly and use your local knowledge and observations to assess your level of risk. While CFS will do its best to provide official warnings, you should not wait to receive a warning to activate your plan. Fires can threaten lives and farms within minutes. Just because you do not receive a warning does not mean there is no threat.

 

Make sure all staff and family members are clear about the fire survival plan and who is doing what and when – you may not always be present.

 

  • On Catastrophic Fire Danger Rating days, the safest option is to relocate your family early in the morning or the night before. Possibly identify a nearby township as your place of relocation.
  • Remember, if you are located in a high fire risk area and catastrophic conditions are predicted, the safest option is to move livestock offsite or to a refuge paddock early.
  • If your farm is impacted by fire, you will need to respond extremely quickly to prevent the fire spreading.

 

 

Recovery

 

With good planning and preparation comes better recovery. Factors to consider for a swift return to business include:

  • Welfare of people – fire events can be physically and emotionally challenging
  • Stock management – including animal health, welfare, feed and water
  • Milking and cooling – power alternatives in a prolonged outage
  • Fencing – safe containment of stock
  • Land and pasture management – including re-sowing and weed management
  • Insurance – photographs can help provide evidence of damage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRESCRIBING REGULATIONS FOR MEDICATIONS:

This is a gentle reminder to those who we have not seen for a while. Government regulations state that to be able to dispense medications to a client, we must have a valid “client-patient relationship”. This means a vet cannot prescribe medication unless they are familiar with the farming enterprise and have knowledge of the animals that will be treated with the drug, and have been on the property in the last 12 months.

 

These are regulations we are bound by and have no control over. So if its been a while since you have had a farm visit, and you require any medications, please be aware that we won’t be able to dispense drugs. If you have cows that need treating and think it’s been a while since a vet has been out, please give us a call.