There are currently 54 fires burning in NSW, 26 of them uncontained, 13 of them at watch and act.
So what does this “catastrophic” rating mean?
"It's where people die," NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons explained last night. This is the first catastrophic declaration for Sydney since a new rating system came into effect 10 years ago.
Almost 600 schools have closed today and almost all NSW bushland areas including walking tracks and fire trails will be closed to the public until further notice.
The Insurance Council of Australia on Saturday declared the latest NSW bushfires a catastrophe, its 4th bushfire disaster of the year. Already 150 claims have been made and the number is expected to rapidly rise as residents return to their homes.
The Rural Fire Service says homes are not designed to withstand fires under these conditions and that “if a fire starts and takes hold during catastrophic fire danger conditions, lives and homes will be at risk”.
Remember once a fire has started it is too late to check your cover or insurance policy – wait periods are a crucial part of your policy. For some it might be up to 3 days after purchasing your policy before you are covered.
Insurance providers and insurance brokers are fully prepared to support those who are correctly insured and can claim in the event of a bushfire loss. If you are unfortunate enough to have to make a claim, it is important to review your claims procedure as there will be some rules, such as taking lots of photographs and videos for the assessors and making no structural changes to the property. If you use an insurance broker, these experts will support you and ensure to make the claims process as smooth as possible.
Below are some useful links and information to help you keep safe during this difficult time. Remember that for your survival, leaving early is the only option.
Many Australian businesses are unprepared for the devastating impact and financial losses that can occur after a fire. Not only this, but business owners must be aware that the recovery process can take weeks, months or even years before operations return to pre-loss levels. This article explains how you can ensure you are adequately prepared for a fire and keep your business maintained to be fire safe.
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