Tourism Victoria and the Victorian Country Fire Authority CFA developed the Tourism Business Fire Ready Kit to assist businesses prepare for fire. It will help you understand your risks, prepare your business and employees, plan how to inform customers, identify their triggers to act and write a plan.
Fire Danger Ratings
All tourism operators should be familiar with the triggers and recommended actions for Code Red (Victoria), Catastrophic (NSW), Extreme and Severe Fire Danger Ratings, which tell you how bad a fire would be if one started.
Ratings are forecast using Bureau of Meteorology data for up to four days in advance, based on weather and other environmental conditions such as fuel load. During the warmer months, check Fire Danger Ratings for your area daily so you know when the local conditions are dangerous.
The rating is your prompt to take action to stay safe – and to make relevant fire information available to tourists in your care so that they can make their own informed decisions.
Code Red (Victoria) / Catastrophic (NSW) Bookings
In the event that a Code Red (Victoria) / Catastrophic (NSW) day is declared for the Murray Region and you have guests booked into your accommodation or bookable activity, you may wish to consider the following:
- Alert visitors already in your care to the Code Red (Victoria) / Catastrophic (NSW) declaration as well as any visitors scheduled to stay in your accommodation on a Code Red / Catastrophic day;
- Refer to the Consumer Affairs Victoria fact sheet When customers cancel: guidance for tourism businesses, or the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's Travel and Accommodation: An industry guide to the Australian Consumer Law, to consider what circumstances might apply to your bookings;
- If your guest wishes to cancel their booking – as there is no explicit legislation governing cancellations in the event of a Code Red / Catastrophic declaration - you should ensure you have decided on a consistent cancellation policy in this event. It is suggested you attempt to maintain goodwill by negotiating to rebook the guest for another date.
The above steps would also be a prudent course of action if an Extreme Fire Danger Rating is issued.
Please note that when Code Red days are declared, Victorian parks and forests will be closed. When Catastrophic days are declared, NSW parks and forests will be closed.