Bushfire season is in full swing and the impact on communities and businesses when disaster strikes can be devastating.

Businesses play an important role helping communities recover following a natural disaster.

The quicker that a business can get back on its feet, the sooner the community can get back to normal life.

That’s why CCI is calling on the business community to provide information through the WA Natural Disaster Business survey online and help improve understanding of attitudes towards preparedness, natural disaster mitigation and insurance.

CCI, the Office of Emergency Management, and the Department of Home Affairs are conducting the research to better understand how WA businesses prepare for natural disasters, including bushfires and storms, as well as the level of financial protection they are willing to put in place.

After the Yarloop bushfire disaster, half of the community or commercial premises surveyed were destroyed or damaged beyond operational requirements. Only 60 per cent of those had insurance covering their premises.

Many businesses believed they would be entitled to compensation from The Lord Mayors' distress relief fund, However, only individuals are eligible.

The threat of bushfire is always high in WA but higher-than-average rates of rainfall over the 2016-17 summer combined with the state’s driest autumn in five years has greatly increased the threat of a catastrophic event, particularly in WA’s south west and the metropolitan areas. 

Findings and recommendations from the survey will be used to provide an overview of potential business risk for emergency services and inform future models of expenditure for mitigation, relief and recovery funding.

With 90 per cent of WA classified as a bushfire-prone area and dangerous storms a common occurrence, it is vital that businesses of all sizes have adequate insurance and disaster mitigation readiness plans in place.

It is also important that businesses covered by insurance are aware of what their individual policy covers and have a business continuity plan in place to further mitigate risk.

According to Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience & Safer Communities, by 2050 the cost of natural disasters are estimated to more than double to $39 billion per year. However, improved planning and preparation could bring this figure down.

Businesses who complete the survey will receive a free copy of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Workbook, which helps businesses of all sizes plan for a natural disaster.

Respondents will also go into the draw to win one of two $250 debit cards.

►Have your say — fill out the WA Natural Disaster Business Survey today.