Disasterreadiness

DRC Case Study : 2019/2020 Australian Bush Fires

This year’s Australian bushfire season, known as the Black Summer, began with several serious uncontrolled fires in June 2019. With hundreds of fires burning, mainly in the southeast of the country, it peaked during December-January. As of 9 March 2020, the fires burnt an estimated 186,000 square kilometres, destroyed over 5,900 buildings (including 2,779 homes) and killed at least 34 people. An estimated one billion animals have been killed and some endangered species may be driven to extinction.

At its peak, air quality dropped to hazardous levels. The cost of dealing with the bushfires is expected to exceed the A$4.4 billion of the 2009 Black Saturday fires. By 7 January 2020, the smoke had moved approximately 11,000 kilometres across the South Pacific Ocean to Chile, Argentina and across to New Zealand.

DRC Case Study Learnings: (using the 4 R's of Emergency Management)

Reduction: 

– Reduce unnecessary fire loading

– Correct storage of flammable items

– Hazardous Substance registers

– Compliant Fire Evacuation plans

Readiness:

– Basic Firefighting training

– Ensure Firefighting equipment is available

– Have solid Fire response plans

– Practice Evacuation plans

– Have a business continuity plan in place

Response:

– Call 111

– Extinguish fire is safe to do so if not..

– Evacuate immediately

– Get out and Stay out

Recovery:  

– Do not try and re-enter the area until the all clear is given

– Check staff welfare

– Commence business continuity plan