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Fire and the Farm: Preparing the Australian Way

27 January 2015

Home to some of the most fire-prone farming country in the world, Australia is a place to learn from when looking at dealing a blaze.

Farmers should review fire plans in order to save losses, write the team at Dairy Australia. 

“Dairy farmers have plans in place, but they may not be up to date,” says Dairy Australia’s Issues Manager, Dr. Julie Iommi.

There are many questions to answer when making a fire plan

“When was the last time you tested your back-up equipment? Having a practice run to check fire-fighting equipment, generators for milking and water pumping will mean if the worst happens you won’t be caught unprepared,” said Dr. Iommi.

Dairy Australia has resources available with tips on how best protect your family, staff, livestock, dairy and machinery from grass and bushfire threats.

A ‘Prepare your dairy farm for fire threat' toolkit and video prepared with input from farmers are available. The Dairy Farm Fire Plan, can help you better manage any emergency situation (fire, flood or storm).

“The goal is to reduce disruption to your dairy business and keep you, your family, staff and animals safe,” says Dr. Iommi.

Key questions to consider

  • Identify a suitable refuge paddock – where will you move the milking herd and young stock if a fire is imminent in your area? Consider marking the milkers to make it easier to sort the herd after the fire has passed through
  • How can you find out about fires near you? – who is responsible for monitoring the Fire Authority Apps, listening to the ABC, keeping a watch on the weather conditions and wind patterns? Have you signed up for the Dairy Australia SMS locational heat alerts?
  • How will you milk and cool if the power goes out? Can you test your back-up plan tonight/tomorrow – just in case?
  • Is your inventory up to date? Take photos of your stored feed and machinery and are chemicals recorded and stored properly and safely?
  • Are all your insurance documents, key contacts list, farm records and laptop together and easy to grab if you need to leave quickly? And remember to keep your mobile phone fully charged.

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