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Australian Parliament Report Casts Doubt on Western Australia’s Wildfire Preparedness

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In a report released this past November, Australian Parliament highlights a series of flaws in Western Australia’s fire agencies’ abilities to prepare for destructive bushfires. The Sydney Morning Herald reports “the Community Development and Justice Standing Committee report examined the response to the recommendations in the Keelty Report over February’s fires and found only nine of 55 recommendations had been implemented.”

According to the report, the community’s preparedness and public access to knowledge are areas that need substantial improvement. The committee wrote that the use of a common incident management platform across all state agencies “is essential to ensuring accuracy, transparency across agencies and the endorsement of decisions by different agencies during an emergency,” and that modern notification systems “are useful to warn affected residents of an impending bushfire if the messages are generated in a timely fashion.”

Additionally, WA research found that a majority of residents in bushfire areas had no prior training, experience of bushfires and little or no knowledge of bushfire safety. We hope that these new findings will encourage WA fire agencies to increase their preparedness and public education efforts, in order to protect local residents, businesses, and properties from bushfire damage.

If your organization operates in an area prone to wildfires, it is critical that you are prepared to protect your property and your employees from harm and fire damage. For example, make sure that you have a way to communicate with your employees if you need to close your office or if an important access road is cut off by a fire, and make sure your employees know that you are doing everything you can to maintain a secure workplace.