If your business could be impacted by a natural disaster like bushfires, cyclones or floods, make sure you have the proper plans in place to protect your business - including your employees, customers, premises and documents.

It’s not easy to think about what would happen if your business was affected by a natural disaster or other emergency – but it’s worth having protections and plans in place. Here are some tips to help you to be proactive and prepare your business.

Quick reference

  • Call 000 – in any life-threatening emergency.
  • EmergencyWA – Bookmark their website or follow them on social media to check for warnings and incidents.
  • My Bush Fire Plan website – Find more information and planning resources.

Get your team involved

The damage and destruction caused by natural disasters can be both unexpected and devastating. If you don’t already have a formal evacuation and emergency plan in place for your business, now is the time to get your team together and get organised.

It’s important that everyone understands their role in an emergency. Work together to outline an evacuation plan including where your assembly site is, what to take (or leave) if it’s safe to do so, your emergency exits and alternative evacuation routes if you needed them.

Keep a printed copy of your emergency plan and emergency contacts in a common area and another copy in another safe location.


If it seems overwhelming, start with the basics such as making sure everyone knows where your first aid supplies and fire safety equipment are kept and add to your plan from their.

Collaborate with experts and your local community

Keeping people safe – including you and your team, your customers, emergency workers and the wider community – should be the top priority in any emergency. You could work with an appropriately registered provider to develop your emergency exit plan and get prepared with the equipment which would suit your needs.

Check with your local government authority about whether there is a chance to collaborate with local emergency services, other local businesses and the wider community on prevention strategies and emergency plans. For example, some local communities have bushfire prevention meetings, social media groups and planning sessions you could join.

Plan for your premises

In a life-threatening emergency, call 000 for emergency services.

Get familiar with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) warning levels for bush fires, cyclones, storms and floods. The recommendations on what to do vary, depending on the level of threat.

You might be able to take action to protect your premises if there is no immediate threat. For example, you may be able to:

  • Close doors and windows
  • Collect water in buckets and containers
  • Turn off your gas supply
  • If it is smoky outside, avoid using evaporative air conditioning
  • Divert your landline to your mobile phone
  • Store chemicals and poisons above ground level
  • Identify items to raise if floodwaters are a threat

Again, have a written plan printed in an easy-to-access location and make sure your team knows what to do.

Check your insurance

Make sure you have the correct level of insurance cover for your needs and that you understand what your business is covered for in the event of a bushfire, flood, storm or tropical cyclone. Keep a copy of your insurance documents in a safe location, away from your business premises.

It’s worth exploring the claims process in advance too. For example, to make a claim on any stock lost through a natural disaster, you might need to have a formal stocktake system in place or photos of anything which has been damaged or spoilt, such as food items. Reading the fine print carefully now could help you to streamline the process if you needed to make a claim.

Have back-ups in place

It’s not nice to think about it – but give some thought to what you could lose in your business as the result of a natural disaster. From there, you can make a back-up plan for those items in advance. For example:

  • If you are unable to access your business premises, can you access vital information from another location (for example, by storing digital copies online)
  • If you lost power, could you safely evacuate from your business premises? If it was safe to continue working, do you have a generator which could run essential equipment for a short time or in place of electricity for a longer time if needed?
  • If you lost your internet connection, do you have systems in place to handle cash or manual credit card payments so you can keep your business running?

If you couldn’t access your business premises, do you have a way to access the files and supplies you might need? This could include your staff members’ contact details and payment details, price lists and product information, your customer database or other important documents. You might want to have these saved in the cloud so you can access them from anywhere with an internet connection.

By considering the worst-case scenario for your business, you can have the right systems and back-ups in place for added peace of mind.


Developing a business continuity plan helps your business continue to operate through unexpected events and challenges, which could otherwise temporarily or permanently close your business. Use our business continuity plan template and accompanying guide to using the business continuity plan template to develop this important tool.

Consider other emergencies too

Natural disasters pose a risk to many businesses across WA – and so can a range of other emergencies. Take the time to assess the risk of other emergencies such as chemical spills, floods, prolonged power outages or other situations which could impact your business.

Just like preparing for emergencies at home, it’s worth having an emergency kit for your business. This could include a first aid kit, portable mobile phone charger, bottled water, a battery-operated radio, torches and extra batteries for these items.

Find out more

For more ideas to help prepare your business for a natural disaster and other potential risks:

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Legal and risk
05 December 2023