Preparing your business before a drought or wildfire can be crucial for your organization’s survival.
Extreme weather and drought events are being experienced on a global scale. An increase of temperatures, a decrease in precipitation levels, and a decrease in soil moisture are all effects of climate change, which have increased the fire season and acres at risk of wildfires. Whether termed bushfire, forest fire, grass fire, or brush fire, wildfires occur throughout the world with devastating effects.
In North America, most wildfires occur during the months of April through late October. During these months with prolonged periods without rain, grass and other organic matter are very dry and easily ignited. Months of the most extreme fire behavior vary based on regional specifics of low vegetation moisture content, humidity levels in the single digits, and strong winds approaching hurricane force.
According to a study published by the Insurance Information Institute, North American wildfires are increasing in both frequency and severity. Understand how wildfires begin and what you can do to help minimize risks your business may be exposed to.
The following are a few best practice prevention tips to increase the chance of your facility surviving a wildfire.
Several industries present an increased exposure towards igniting wildland fires. Electric Power Transmission & Distribution, Oil & Gas, and Timber-related industry sectors (along with their associated contractors and subcontracts) are several examples that may have increased wildland fire liability. Entities performing prescribed burns also present an increased exposure and should implement detailed wildland fire prevention plans per local regulatory agency.
Companies should determine their scope of operations, contractual, and risk transfer controls in addition to fire prevention practices to limit their potential for starting a wildland fire. Realtime monitoring of wildfire conditions, understanding the threat, and efficiently communicating information are the key components to an effective industrial wildland fire prevention plan.
The below basic hazard analysis helps any commercial entity in the prevention of industry-caused wildland fire:
Once you have conducted a basic hazard analysis, identify actions that will reduce or eliminate the risks, reduce the fuels to ignition, and assign responsibilities and timelines for the actions. This may include inspections of equipment, training for employees, smoking restrictions, raking leaves, clearing vegetation, etc.
Companies operating within the wildlands should have a formal Wildlands Fire Prevention Plan (WFPP).
For more information on how you can prepare, plan, and recover from a wildfire email us at RiskEngineeringServices@chubb.com.