Do you have a bushfire plan for the 2016 fire season?

Every organisation or community group who operate out of premises that are near dense forest, bush, grass land or the coast need to prepare for the threat of fire and bushfires, and decide on fire plans now.

and practice your bushfire plan. The more you prepare your property the better the chance of surviving a bushfire, even if you are not there.

Write down your bushfire plan, communicate that plan and know if you have the clothing, equipment or resources to enact your fire plan to leave early or stay and defend.

A prepared and practiced bushfire survival plan will help your community group and organisation know where others are and what they’ll be doing should an emergency occur. Be prepared, confident and more in control so you can cope should a disaster strike.

Fire Preparedness is a shared responsibility

The responsibility for surviving the fire season is shared between emergency services and the community. We all – including you and your community group – share responsibility for our community’s safety.

Tips to get you started on your bushfire plan

Create at least a 20 metre circle of safety around your buildings by clearing rubbish, long grass and other materials that may catch fire. A well prepared building is more likely to survive a bushfire, a few simple things to do are:

  • -Keep gutters clean and install metal gutter guards.
  • -Store flammable fuels and chemicals away from the building and store in an enclosed shed away from the building.
  • -Install sarking behind weatherboards and beneath existing roofing.
  • -Replace glass over time with toughened or laminated safety glass.
  • -Install shutters or metal flyscreens to doors and windows.

In considering how you will respond if a fire event occurs whilst people are at your premises, consider some of the questions below:

  • -Which Fire Danger Rating is your trigger to close your facility or cancel an event?
  • -What will you do if there is a fire in the area and people at your premises cannot leave?
  • -Have you communicated your bushfire plan to your stakeholders?
  • -Have you practised your bushfire plan?
Download a pdf version of these fire safety tips*

Resources to help you prepare and plan

ACT Fire Preparedness Resources

NSW Fire Preparedness Resources

NT Fire Preparedness Resources

Queensland Fire Preparedness Resources

South Australia Fire Preparedness Resources

Tasmania Fire Preparedness Resources

Victoria Fire Preparedness Resources

Western Australia Fire Preparedness Resources

Download a pdf version of these fire safety tips*

*This material is for information purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice nor are any suggestions, checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions.


Ansvar unveils new broker toolkit

Ansvar Insurance has unveiled a new business resilience toolkit designed to help brokers work with their SME clients in a crisis.

The toolkit will help brokers assist their SME clients in the event of a crisis and was presented at the latest series of Ansvar forums.

The toolkit consists of three components; a crisis management plan, a business continuity plan and recovery plans, all of which will help brokers work alongside their SME clients in the event of a crisis. The release of the toolkit follows changes made by the insurer to their business insurance products earlier this year.

Ansvar Insurance also announced that their latest round of broker forums were the best attended to date with more than 300 delegates in attendance across the country.

The forums, on the topic of technology and innovation, saw the insurer discuss its use of drones, thermography and security and fire detection systems and discuss the latest development of technology for risk assessment and mitigation.

Ansvar’s next series of forums are currently in-development for 2017.

View the article on Insurance Business Online here

Ansvar Insurance Announces the Use of Drones in Risk Assessment

Ansvar Insurance, one of Australia’s leading specialist insurers, announced the addition of drones to their risk assessment toolkit.  Ansvar has made a significant investment to certify four risk advisors to offer nationwide coverage of this new level of service. Ansvar is the first insurer to obtain its Operators Certificate from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

The use of drones in risk mitigation and assessment is the latest example of Ansvar’s progressive adoption of technology.  By embracing innovation, Ansvar is in a unique position to remain the market leader in its specialty sectors, providing Ansvar’s team of risk advisors the most comprehensive tools available for risk assessment on the market today.

Drone technology will allow Ansvar’s risk advisors to survey properties and access areas that were previously inaccessible in a safe and cost effective way.

“Investing in the use of drones is a natural consequence of being a risk-led organisation that embraces the latest technology.  Drones, along with other technological innovations such as thermographics, allows Ansvar to provide the most robust and comprehensive risk mitigation and assessment programs for our clients,” said Warren Hutcheon Ansvar CEO.

“CASA certification and the development of an operating model that considers safety and privacy concerns has been a 12-month process, and we are very excited to be able to offer this service to our clients.” said Warren.


Ansvar Insurance brings faith community together for Arson Forum

Ansvar Insurance, one of Australia’s leading specialist insurers, has conducted an interfaith arson forum in Geelong in response to the recent spate of church fires. In partnership with Catholic Church Insurance, the forum included speakers and experts from the Geelong Interfaith Network, the Victoria Police, the Country Fire Authority and the Victorian Council of Churches.

The Inspector Graham Banks and Leading Senior Constable Andrew King from Victoria Police, Retired Inspector of Explosives and Arson Squad Jeff Maher and Tony Burke from the CFA provided invaluable information on how to protect faith properties from arson which included protective measures, early detection and fire suppression as well some insight to the behavior of arsonists. Just as important however, Stuart Stuart , CEO of the Victorian Council of Churches Emergency Ministries was on hand to speak about the psychological impacts of arson and the counselling and support services available to those victimised by such events.

“Arsonists do not discriminate and the effect of a fire at a house of worship, whether a church, synagogue or mosque, is a devastating event. In addition to damaging the physical property, these events also have a traumatic effect on the community. It was important for us to conduct this forum with all members of the faith community to arm them with the knowledge they need to help mitigate the risk of arson and also help deal with the emotional side effects,” said Warren Hutcheon, CEO – Ansvar Insurance.

“It is unfortunate that there is a need for such forums, but the collective information presented from the panel of experts will help members of all faith communities be more vigilant, active participants in the risk mitigation process of their respective houses of worship.”

“As an Insurer we naturally focus the majority of our attention on the financial losses suffered as a result of arson. It was important for us that this forum address the emotional consequences so we were conscious of inviting experts on the panel who were able to address the psychological reactions to traumatic community events,” said Hutcheon.

The forum was attended by over 100 interested parties including a broad cross section of customers and community members.

“The recent increase in church fires in the area have left many of us feeling uneasy. We are grateful to Ansvar Insurance and the Catholic Church Insurance for assembling such a varied and informative group of panelists to help guide our communities and educate us on how we can reduce the prevalence of future arson attacks,” said Russell Hoath from Churches of Christ Insurance.


Houses of Worship Targeted in Serious Arson Attacks


Over the past 12 months in Australia, there have been many suspected serious arson attacks against various houses of worship,  some of these have included the historic Uniting Church in Ocean Grove VIC,  Garden City Mosque in Toowoomba QLD and St Jude’s in Carlton VIC.  Ansvar Insurance, Australia’s leading insurance provider for the Care, Community, Education, Faith and Heritage sectors recommends organisations consider a number of key measures when protecting their properties.

A common challenge for many Faith organisations is the accurate valuation of their properties.  It is often not until a devastating event like a fire occurs that a house of worship’s value is truly determined.  When properties aren’t insured for their full replacement value it creates a serious financial burden for the Faith organisation. A professional assessment to determine the true value of the property can provide peace of mind. During 2014 Ansvar clients experienced fire losses on places of worship exceeding $10 million dollars of which the majority of properties had been under-insured.

What makes these fires particularly devastating beyond the damage to the physical building can be the loss of what Ansvar calls the “heritage overlay.”  Many houses of worship contain stained glass, specialist stone masonry work, religious artifacts and heritage protected roofing.  This requires specialist materials and specialist contractors approved to work on heritage buildings, and can cause significant delays in rebuilding.

“Unfortunately arson attacks on churches and places of worship are on the rise in Australia.  In light of these attacks, it is sound business practice that all places of worship take every measure to protect themselves from the threat of arson,” says David Davies, Ansvar’s Head of Risk Solutions.  “Arson is a deliberate and frightening reality and places of worship can be easy targets with devastating results.”  says Davies.

As a leading specialist insurer to the Australian Faith community, Ansvar has considerable experience and in-depth knowledge of risk mitigation and the prevention of arson.

Mr Davies and the Ansvar Risk Solutions team recommend the following preventative steps to help deter would-​be arsonists and/or thieves:

  1.  Regularly review building security arrangements – make sure adequate measures are in place to protect vulnerable areas against unauthorised access.
  2. Encourage neighbours to be vigilant – and report any suspicious activity to police
  3. Good housekeeping – do not accumulate rubbish and combustibles waste in or around the building.  Lock away candles and matches.  Do not leave petrol in the building.   All boiler houses should be locked with no combustible waste stored in them.
  4. Do not site wheelie bins or refuse containers close to buildings – locate bins in secure areas well away from buildings if possible.  A fire in a waste bin close to the building can quickly shatter glass and spread inside the building.
  5. Carry out repairs quickly – from graffiti or malicious damage attacks.  Minor damage is often followed by more serious incidents including arson if not addressed quickly.
  6. Lock the building overnight – this includes all perimeter gates.  The risk increases significantly during the hours of darkness.  Buildings should be locked when not in use.  Doors and accessible windows should be adequately secured to prevent unauthorised access.
  7. Limited authorised entry points – other than for services, leave only one door unlocked during the day.  This should be easily visible from nearby properties.  If not have Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) installed with signs mounted and clearly visible.
  8. Regular building visits – create the illusions the building is visited regularly and encourage parishioners and neighbours to visit as part of their daily routine.  Use the building as much as possible.  If practical have a roster of building sitters.  Keep internal doors closed to prevent fire from spreading.
  9. External alarms – consider installing external security lighting and intruder alarms as CCTV to help deter criminals.  Fire and intruder alarms should have remote signalling to a receiving centre ensuring 24 hour response to any activation, helping mitigate losses as far as possible.
  10. Fire Extinguishers – ensure all fire extinguishers are maintained annually and the building officials have been trained in their use.
  11. Sprinkler Systems – given the amount of timber used in the interior constructions, an active sprinkler system can be the difference in saving or losing the property.

In addition to these measures, Ansvar can provide its Faith clients with a Risk Survey focusing on all the potential hazards and provide peace of mind to both client and provider.


To download a copy of Ansvar Insurance’s arson prevention white paper entitled, “Protect Your Place of Worship. Understand, Manage and Reduce the Risk of Arson”, please visit /risky-business/downloads-worksheets-resources/