Fire toolkit

Build a fire plan using checklists and templates from the Fire Preparedness Toolkit.

The characteristics of every farm and farming business are different and each farm requires a unique approach to fire preparedness.

Fire can affect properties rapidly and cause devastating impacts.

Developing a fire plan and undertaking the tasks identified within it, will assist farmers and land managers to be better prepared and recover faster, should their property be affected by fire.

A fire plan can help to protect your home, livestock and vital farm infrastructure. A plan will also help identify the timing of activities so they can be undertaken at the appropriate time.

It is important to review the plan on an annual basis and again during periods of high fire risk. All members of the family and employees should be aware of the plan and how to implement it. Agriculture Victoria’s Fire Preparedness Toolkit includes checklists and templates, that once complete can help form a fire preparedness plan.

The checklists and templates have been developed with input from landholders. The Fire Preparedness Toolkit should be used in conjunction with existing information and resources provided by the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and your local council.

For more information visit the publications section on the CFA website.

Get a copy for your farm

For a hard copy of the toolkit fill out this form Note: It you require more copies (for example for an agency) please contact us separately at recovery@agriculture.vic.gov.au. It can take up to 2 weeks for the toolkit to be posted from our regional offices.

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Prepare

Create a farm map

A farm map can be a useful tool in the development of a fire plan. It can clearly identify critical assets, water sources, assembly/evacuation and exit points and stock refuge areas.

Consider making multiple copies of the map to share with family and employees and place copies in visible and easily accessed areas. The farm map can be hand drawn, an existing aerial photo or developed using custom made mapping software.

Use the resources from the Fire Preparedness Toolkit to create your farm map.

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A farm map can be a useful tool in the development of a fire plan. It can clearly identify critical assets, water sources, assembly/evacuation and exit points and stock refuge areas.

Consider making multiple copies of the map to share with family and employees and place copies in visible and easily accessed areas. The farm map can be hand drawn, an existing aerial photo or developed using custom made mapping software.

Use the resources from the Fire Preparedness Toolkit to create your farm map.

Create a checklist

Your fire preparedness plan should be reviewed on an annual basis, ideally before the start of the fire season. The review should involve all family members and employees.

The discussion should clearly identify individual responsibilities, their roles, equipment and what to do during periods of high fire danger. This review may also be a good time to undertake a refresher on the use of pumps and other firefighting equipment.

Use the resources from the Fire Preparedness Toolkit to create your fire preparedness checklist.

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Below are 8 checklists you can use to prepare for a fire event:

  • Business preparedness
  • Family/staff briefing
  • Farm preparedness
  • Building/vegetation maintenance
  • Equipment and asset maintenance
  • Water supply
  • Livestock management
  • High risk day ratings plan
Business PreparednessWhoWhenDate completed
Insurance reviewed and updated


Review and update farm asset list


Scan or copy important documents and store off farm. Record where they are stored


Update Property Identification Code (PIC)


Review and update emergency contact list


Update farm map


Review the rules around burning off in your municipality


Family/staff briefingWhoWhenDate completed
Family members/staff/contractors are aware of the Fire Preparedness Plan and their roles


Family members/staff briefed on use of 000, VicFire and mobile phone emergency apps


Family members and staff know the address/location of the property to relay to emergency services in the event of a fire


Communications equipment used on farm is in good working order and family members/staff are trained in its use


Family members/staff/contractors are aware of fire danger periods declared in your municipality (and associated restrictions)


Family members/staff/contractors are aware of daily fire danger ratings and total fire bans when declared


Harvest machinery operators are familiar with harvest related fire dangers and know how to undertake assessments using the CFA Grain Harvesting Guide


Farm PreparednessWhoWhenDate completed
Property access is clear and well maintained


Roadside property number is clearly visible from both directions at property entry


Farm biosecurity sign at farm entrance with mobile phone number displayed


Contents of all personal emergency and evacuation kits (including personal protective equipment) checked and updated


Building/Vegetation MaintenanceWhoWhenDate completed
Undertake routine maintenance of house and farm buildings ensuring all doors can be easily closed during periods of high fire danger


Clear vegetation and other flammable materials from around the home and farm buildings including gutters


Establish fire breaks


Monitor hay that may be at risk


Equipment and Asset MaintenanceWhoWhenDate completed
Knapsack and fire extinguishers are regularly serviced


Fire extinguishers (or knapsacks) are fitted to tractors, harvesters and other relevant machinery


Farm vehicles are supplied with a fire extinguisher, pure wool blanket, first aid kit, UHF radio and mobile phone charger (and 12 volt adaptor if required)


Firefighting unit is set up, serviced, tested and fitted with appropriate hand tools including wire cutters


Electric fences checked for faults and kept clear of long grass – switch off on fire risk days


All farm machinery and equipment maintained in good working order (to avoid starting a fire)


Assemble firefighting equipment for protecting your home residence


Water SupplyWhoWhenDate completed
Tank holding a minimum of 22,000 litres of water for firefighting purposes fitted with appropriate CFA couplings


Dams suitable for filling fire units are marked on farm map


Livestock ManagementWhoWhenDate completed
Refuge area (paddock/stock containment area identified and prepared for livestock with adequate water)


All livestock fitted with electronic ear tags or management tags


Feed sources for livestock kept at two locations on property


High Risk Day RatingsWho is leavingWho is staying?Destination? (Include route and backup route)
HIGH


EXTREME


CATASTROPHICAll personnel should leave on catastrophic days

Action plan

After working through the fire preparedness checklist, note any urgent repairs or actions that need to occur prior to the upcoming fire season.

A blank copy of an action plan template can be found in the Fire Preparedness Toolkit.

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Emergency contact list

An emergency contact list is an essential part of a fire plan. It should list the phone numbers of emergency services, state and local government contacts, veterinary clinic, local hospital, family members, employees and your neighbours. A copy of an emergency contact list template can be found in the Fire Preparedness Toolkit.

To contact your local CFA region, visit the CFA website.

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Form name



Address



Owner/ManagerName
Contact No.
Owner/ManagerName
Contact No.
ChlidrenName
Contact No.
ChlidrenName
Contact No.
ChlidrenName
Contact No.
ChlidrenName
Contact No.
ChlidrenName
Contact No.
EmployeesName
Contact No.
EmployeesName
Contact No.
EmployeesName
Contact No.
EmployeesName
Contact No.
NeighboursName
Contact No.
NeighboursName
Contact No.
NeighboursName
Contact No.
CFA/Fire StationName
Contact No.
SESName
Contact No.
Electricity CompanyName
Contact No.
Telephone CompanyName
Contact No.
Police StationName
Contact No.
HospitalName
Contact No.
DoctorName
Contact No.
DentistName
Contact No.
Insurance AgentName
Contact No.
Livestock AgentName
Contact No.
Local Shire – MunicipalityName
Contact No.
VeterinarianName
Contact No.
Livestock TransportName
Contact No.
PlumberName
Contact No.
ElectricianName
Contact No.
Local Merchandise StoreName
Contact No.
Fuel/Chemical SupplierName
Contact No.
Local Water CarterName
Contact No.
Equipment DealerName
Contact No.
Plant SupplierName
Contact No.
Agriculture VictoriaName
Contact No.
Local Catchment Management AuthorityName
Contact No.
OtherName
Contact No.

Fire danger ratings and Total Fire Ban days

Image shows a fire danger ratings board, a semicircle with 4 wedges, green (first) for Moderate danger, yellow (second) for High danger, orange (third) for Extreme danger and red (fourth) for Catastrophic danger rating.

Fire Danger Ratings tell you how dangerous a fire could be if one started. The higher the rating, the more dangerous the conditions. Make it part of your plan to check the Fire Danger Rating every day.

Fire Danger Ratings can be used as a trigger for various fire plan actions including when different personnel will leave or whether you activate a ‘leave early’ or ‘stay and defend’ plan.

Your plan might use forecast fire danger ratings to trigger activities like relocating stock or laying out fire hoses. During the fire season check your local warnings regularly to keep safe.

Where to find warnings and updates

  • VicEmergency website or VicEmergency app
  • Listen to ABC Local Radio, commercial and designated community radio stations and watch ABC News 24
  • Social Media outlets: X @CFA_Updates (login required) and the CFA Facebook page (login required)
  • 1800 226 226 – the VicEmergency Hotline
  • 1800 555 677 – callers who are deaf, hard to hearing, or have a speech/communication impairment can contact VicEmergency via the National Relay Service on this number
  • 131 450 – If you do not speak English, call the Translating and Interpreting Service for translated information from VicEmergency. If you know someone who cannot speak English, give them this number
  • In some circumstances you may receive an SMS to your mobile phone
  • You may receive a call to your landline phone

A complete list of official emergency broadcasters can be downloaded from the Emergency Management Victoria website.

Emergency and evacuation kits

When a bushfire is likely to impact your property, staying to defend it or preparing to shelter in place can be extremely dangerous. You must be mentally and physically fit, have all the necessary personal protective equipment, have an ample supply of food and water and an emergency and evacuation kit packed and ready to go. Landholders should prepare an emergency and evacuation kit even if your plan is to leave early.

A handy checklist for preparing an emergency kit and an evacuation kit can be found in the Fire Preparedness Toolkit or click on the drop-down menu below.

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Your emergency kit should be stored in a crate or tub and kept in an accessible spot that everyone knows about. Items you will need in your kit to help you survive during and after a bushfire are listed below:


ItemsCheckbox (tick when included)
Protective ClothingWide brimmed hat
Protective ClothingEye protection/ smoke googles
Protective ClothingSmoke/particle masks, P2 mask or cotton scarf for face
Protective ClothingOveralls or long-sleeved collared shirt and pants made from a natural fibre
Protective ClothingLeather work gloves
Protective ClothingWool or cotton socks
Protective ClothingSturdy leather boots

Other Essential Items

Comprehensive first aid kit

Other Essential Items

Pure wool blankets/fire blankets

Other Essential Items

Battery powered radios

Other Essential Items

Torches and battery powered lights

Other Essential Items

Spare batteries and chargers

Other Essential Items

Wire cutters

Other Essential Items

Farm Emergency Contact List

Other Essential Items

Drinking water and food for at least 2 days

Other Essential Items

Medication and copies of prescriptions

Prepare your evacuation kit before the bushfire season and keep it in an accessible spot. Prepare a checklist of things you will need to include and take with you when you leave is vital. Your evacuation kit should include the items listed below:

ItemDetailsCheckbox (tick when included)
Personal Protective EquipmentMake sure everyone leaving is wearing protective equipment (long pants and shirts (cotton, denim, or wool) and sturdy leather boots/shoes
Clothing, personal items and equipmentChange of clothing for all family members
Clothing, personal items and equipmentHouse and car/vehicle keys
Clothing, personal items and equipmentUnderwear
Clothing, personal items and equipmentToiletries and sanitary supplies
Clothing, personal items and equipmentAny medications (+copies of prescriptions) and first aid kit
Clothing, personal items and equipmentPhone, laptop and chargers
Clothing, personal items and equipmentBattery powered radio/spare batteries
Clothing, personal items and equipmentTorch/spare batteries
Clothing, personal items and equipmentPure wool blanket
Copy of important documents/recordsPhoto ID or passport
Copy of important documents/recordsCopy of rates notice
Copy of important documents/recordsUSB with copy of important digital files (including insurance, farm inventory, personal records and livestock records)
Copy of important documents/recordsCopy of Farm Emergency Contact List
ValuablesPrecious photos/personal items
ValuablesWallet/purse
ValuablesOther:
Food and waterFor family members travelling with you (enough supplies for a couple of days)
Food and waterTake supplies for pets

Farm asset inventory

A list of all significant assets, (plant, machinery, tools, infrastructure, fences, gates, fodder/grain, chemicals and stock) is a vital part of being prepared for a natural disaster such as a fire, storm or flood. Having an up-to-date asset list will expediate the payment of insurance or other assistance.

A simple way to prepare a list is to take photographs, noting down model/serial numbers, purchase date, cost and current valuation of all assets. It is recommended that photos and associated information be kept in both hard copy and digital format at an off farm location.

Secure ‘cloud’ storage is an excellent idea. In addition to specific items, general photos of workshop bench and storage areas, machinery and shearing sheds can help identify missing items.

The Fire Preparedness Toolkit has a template of a farm asset inventory.

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A list of all significant assets, (plant, machinery, tools, infrastructure, fences, gates, fodder/grain, chemicals and stock) is a vital part of being prepared for a natural disaster such as a fire, storm or flood.

Having an up-to-date asset list will expediate the payment of insurance or other assistance.

A simple way to prepare a list is to take photographs, noting down model/ serial numbers, purchase date, cost and current valuation of all assets. It is recommended that photos and associated information be kept in both hard copy and digital format at an off farm location.

Secure ‘cloud’ storage is an excellent idea. In addition to specific items, general photos of workshop bench and storage areas, machinery and shearing sheds can help identify missing items.

Item nameDescriptionSerial numberDate purchasedOther comments
Example: Ford tractor1570 Ford 2wd
(roll bar)
675-oli- 8942-
big-wheels
20/02/1995Very good condition, photos taken and emailed
Example: Toyota land cruiser and LDK trayGrey Series 70VIN-Pol-9075-8925/12/2010Current (19/10/2021) 260,000kms. Regular service, some panel damage – see photos.



































Response

Planning for high-risk days

Your fire plan should include a “high-risk day action plan”. The action plan should include agreed trigger points for various actions and responses; when to leave, who will leave, where will they go? You may need to stay for several days so this needs to be taken into consideration.

There are a number of CFA templates that guide you through developing a plan for high-risk days. The bushfire survival planning templates – leaving early and defending your property can be found in the publications section of the CFA website.

If planning to defend your property it is highly recommended that you have a discussion about it with your local CFA fire brigade. CFA will be able to offer advice about how to reduce the risks of planning to defend your property.

For more information visit the CFA website .

Recovery

After the fire

It is important to consider the dangers associated with returning to a fire affected property. These dangers can include fallen powerlines, dangerous trees, burning stump holes and ground contaminated with asbestos or chemical residues.

A careful and methodical assessment should be carried out to make the farm as safe as possible before recovery work commences.

Your fire plan should include a section on recovery. How will you look after yourself, your family, employees and neighbours? What are the priority actions that need to be taken once the fire has been extinguished?

Agriculture Victoria’s “Recovery after fire – practical steps for farmers” booklet will help you plan your recovery and get you back to business as soon as possible. It contains suggested actions in the critical areas of:

  • Personal health and wellbeing
  • Livestock management (animal health, welfare, feed and water)
  • Water management
  • Soil and pasture recovery
  • Fencing and property planning
  • Pest control and;
  • Financial support.

A handy guide can be found on the Agriculture Victoria website.

Fire impact assessment

Included in the Fire Preparedness Toolkit is a simple fire impact assessment form to help you document any losses and consider the priority steps you need to action after a fire event.

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Below is a simple fire impact assessment form to help you document any losses and consider the priority steps you need to action after a fire event.

Also in this section fire impact assessment forms for:

  • Livestock
  • Grains, crops and feed
  • Infrastructure
  • Horticulture
  • Post-fire feed, water and fencing requirements
Property details
Name
Trading name
Farm address
Total farm size
Area affected (%) by event

Livestock

Type of livestockTotal number priorNeed assessingMissingDeceased




















Grain, crops and feed

SpeciesLost, damaged or destroyed (ha/bales, etc.)Remaining (ha/bales)
Field Crop Standing

Stubble

Stored Grain

Pasture

Silage

Hay

Other

Other

Infrastructure

ItemsComments
Water, power and communication infrastructure (generators, pipes, solar panels, phones, powerlines)
External fencing (adjoining crown land)
External fencing (other)
Internal fencing
Gates
Sheds
Pumps
Tanks
Yards
Reticulation/irrigation (centre pivot, pipes, troughs)
Silos
Machinery
Vehicles/bikes
Tree belts/remnant vegetation
House
Carport
Other

Horticulture

SpeciesLost, damaged or plants destroyed (ha/tonnes/ha)Remaining (plants/ha)












Other ImpactsNotesPhotos taken (Y/N)
Containment lines that need rehabilitating (metres/km)

Water removed from dams for fire fighting

Erosion on waterways sediment in dams and paddocks

Based on the remaining stock on the property

How much feed do I need?

How much water do I need?

What are my critical fencing requirements?

Emergency feed and water budget table

Completing an emergency feed and water budget following a fire will help you determine your livestock’s short-term needs which is important if you have lost a significant amount of pasture or supplementary feed and water supplies are impacted.

Refer to the Fire Preparedness Toolkit for a copy of a template to calculate your short term (14 days) emergency livestock feed and water requirements.

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Emergency Feed & Water Budget table from Agriculture Victoria

For a downloadable copy of the emergency feed and water budget table above visit Agriculture Victoria’s Feeding livestock website.

For a downloadable copy of the emergency feed and water budget table visit Agriculture Victoria’s Feeding livestock website.

For further information and advice on feeding livestock visit Agriculture Victoria’s feeding livestock website.

Meat and Livestock Australia also provides an online stocking rate calculator.

Agriculture Victoria offers information and advice on recovery services and programs offered by government and other agencies following fire.

Please contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 for more information.

More information

Agriculture Victoria website

CFA website

Visit the CFA website to access publications on topics such as:

  • Before and during a fire
  • How to prepare your property
  • Fire safety on the farm
  • Hay and harvest fire safety (including the grain harvesting guide)
  • Restrictions and permits for farming activities
  • Operating farming machinery, equipment and vehicles
  • Firefighting equipment
  • Electric fences and powerlines
  • Livestock
  • Horses and bushfires.
Page last updated: 04 Dec 2023