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July : Your check list for safe and controlled burning

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12 July, 2019

Your check list for safe and controlled burning

Your check list for safe and controlled burning

Safire Insurance Company Limited was started in 1987, offering niche insurance to local timber famers. Today the company has a diverse range of short-term insurance products but retains its close relationship with timber-growers through its specialist timber insurance options. Ruth Bezuidenhout, GM of Safire's Crop Division, says, "While many factors are beyond human control, it is vital for timber-growers to identify whatever risks they have some influence over, manage these risks and then rely on top quality insurance including spread of fire cover for absolute peace of mind. Currently there is concern over late frosts and the problems this presents to farmers in getting firebreaks done in a safe manner and before the cut offdates."

It is of vital importance that landowners operate within the scope of the law and are aware of the rules and regulations set out by the relevant FPA (Fire Protection Association) and other applicable legislation.Safire have prepared this checklist to assist landowners and timber-growers with compliance and readiness going into fire season.

  • An important part of fire season preparation is reviewing your insurance cover. Timber price increases necessitate a reassessment of timber values. It is important that insured values are current and that any changes to planted areas are conveyed to your insurer. Factors that could have an effect on fire risk or changes affecting insurance cover should also be disclosed.
  • Familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions of your insurance cover.
  • Be aware of any limitations regarding controlled burns set out by both your insurer and FPA, whether within the fire danger period or not.
  • Check FDI forecasts daily and only carry out burning when it is safe to do so.
  • Identify high risk areas and ensure that adequate firebreaks are in place around these locations.
  • Firebreaks should not be cleared and then left; they need to be maintained to work effectively.
  • Put tested communication systems in place including communication with the local aerial bombing association in case aerial support is needed.
  • Have well trained and well-equipped fire-fighting teams and use fire protective clothing and equipment that conform to FPA standards. Water tankers should be filled and ready at all times during fire season.
  • Ensure identified roads are in good condition to facilitate quick and safe escape routes in the event of uncontrolled fires. Ensure all staff members are familiar with these escape routes.
  • Make sure that all fires and smouldering material have been extinguished before leaving a firebreak/fire site, particularly prior to a pay weekend or public holiday.

Safire is recognised as a forestry industry expert and whilst the company has expanded its product offering over the past three decades, it has never lost its focus on meeting the insurance needs of local timber-growers. Plantation insurance, which includes cover for sugar cane plantations and fruit and nut orchards, remains a significant part of Safire's business.

Safire's long-standing relationship with the timber industry means that its team can offer expert advice and readily deal with any queries. Ruth Bezuidenhout (083 631 1264) and Gareth Smallbones (083 384 4788) have been part of Safire's Crop Division for 27 and 11 years respectively, and are on hand to assist growers with queries and value calculations, whether they are insured with Safire or not. "It's very important to us that no one becomes a fire season statistic," says Ruth. "With a little foresight, preparationand teamwork, fire season need not be a time of sleepless nights!"

Your check list for safe and controlled burning
Gareth Smallbones and Ruth Bezuidenhout from Safire's Crop division

 Safire Insurance Company Limited
Safire Insurance Company is an Authorised Financial Services Provider - FSP no 2092.

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