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The rising threat of wildfires to remote workers  

Health and safety news
4 min read

The rising threat of wildfires to remote workers

If your staff operate in areas that could be at risk from wildfires, there are ways to quickly locate them and send help if they need it. 

Written by Helen Down, StaySafe
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Wildfires are a common hazard that occur across much of the world. Often caused by a combination of severe hot weather, wind and dry underbrush, wildfires can consume acres of land in minutes.  

However, nature is not always to blame; some wildfires are caused by us, such as with the recent wildfires in Greece, where 76 people were arrested for arson. 

Recent reports suggest that there are around 70,000 wildfires globally each year – many of these occurring in the United States, Canada, Australia and Southern Europe.

The frequency and severity of wildfires is increasing

Heat waves, droughts, and climate change increase the risk, and alter the behaviour of wildfires dramatically. Changes to the climate are resulting in more widespread fires and longer fire seasons, while we are also seeing an increase in the intensity and frequency of wildfires.  

In recent years, we have watched in horror at the severity of wildfires that consume vast swathes of land, taking with them natural habitats, homes, livelihoods and, most harrowingly, lives.  

The wildfires that have raged in Greece this summer have been responsible for 23 fire-related deaths, as well as the destruction of much of a National Forest, homes and farmland.  

Worryingly, warnings have just been issued to Australia to prepare for 2023 to be the most significant bushfire season since the ‘Black Summer’ of 2019/20, when 59 million acres of land was destroyed. 

The wildfires this year have also been devastating in the United States, where 111 people lost their lives in Hawaii, in a wildfire that has now been named as the deadliest in modern US history. 

Infact, at the time of writing, 574 wildfires, covering 280,918 hectares of land, are active in the US right now.  

Wildfires and the risk to remote workers 

Organisations that operate within at-risk zones need to be aware of the dangers of wildfires and take steps to mitigate the risk to their employees. 

As well as being caught directly in a fire, the rush to leave the affected area could also leave organisations struggling to locate their employees and get them any help they need.  

The risk is heightened further when companies employ remote workers who move between different locations. If disaster does strike, finding out where your employees are and whether they are OK can be even more difficult.  

When situations like this arise, employers need to have specific measures put in place to ensure the safety of their workers. This is where specialist safety apps and technology can help.  

Ensure every employee gets home safely 

If your staff operate in areas that could be at risk from wildfires, there are ways to quickly locate them and send help if they need it. 

The StaySafe app and monitoring hub gives employers real-time visibility of their employees’ location and provides staff with a quick and efficient way to signal for help they’re in danger.  

Features such as a panic button, timed welfare checks, missed check-in and fall detection alerts help to ensure that employees are found quickly and get help in an emergency – even in areas of low or no signal.  

With the number of wildfires increasing, StaySafe can help employees and their families to feel more at ease about working in at-risk environments, whilst enabling employers to maintain their duty of care to staff.  

Find out more about StaySafe  

 

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Helen Down

“Helen has worked within the lone worker industry for nearly a decade. During that time she has written extensively about health and safety, risk, legislation, and lone working – including the Lone Worker Landscape Report.

Helen’s background is in marketing for start-ups and SMEs, where she has enjoyed working as part of the leadership team to grow the business. Outside of work, Helen is a mum of two and loves to drink wine in peace.”

Looking for more information on protecting your lone workers?

We have a range of expert resources and topical blogs to help keep your lone working staff safe.

Guide to lone working

A comprehensive lone worker guide for employers, managers and the self employed.

Guide to lone worker risk assessments

An extensive guide to risk assessments for employers or managers of lone workers.

StaySafe buyers guide

An informative guide outlining everything you need to know when purchasing a lone working solution.

Find out more about StaySafe solutions

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Cloud Based Monitoring Hub
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Wearable Technology
Pairing the app with V.BTTN is a great solution for anyone working at height, with gloves or machinery, where pushing a button may be a more convenient way of using the StaySafe app.
Satellite Tracking Devices
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