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Our employees working to prevent fires as Indonesia’s dry season sets in


As we move towards the height of the dry season in Indonesia, our employees are continuing to work to prevent fires starting in and around our estates in line with our long-standing Zero Burning Policy and the Desa Siaga Api programme.

Remaining vigilant and continuing the community awareness and school outreach programmes, which we began in West Kalimantan a few months ago, are essential if our estates and the surrounding communities are to prevent fires throughout the dry season.

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Increasing employee awareness about fire prevention

Throughout our estates our employees are trained to be part of our fire prevention and response teams. In addition, after last year’s devastating fires, GAR, like many others recognised that we needed to look beyond our own concession borders if we were to have a real chance of preventing fires from crossing into our plantations. The Desa Siaga Api programme was designed to extend our own zero burning approach to the villages within a five kilometre radius of our boundaries. This includes offering villagers training and equipment to help them avoid and rapidly suppress fires.

Recently in three of our estates in Kalimantan – Pekawai, Nanga Tayap and Sungai Kelik, our supervisors organised fire prevention drills and awareness sessions for our employees. To encourage participation by everyone, our estate managers and supervisors led and facilitated these sessions themselves. At the end of sessions, they developed action plans with their team members for their estates to remind their teams, colleagues and families to help prevent fires.

Regular morning briefings on fire prevention are held for our harvesters so that everyone in our estates remains fully aware and can take immediate action if fires are reported near our plantation sites. All our estate managers, sustainability officers and social teams also participate in these briefings. They encouraged their team members to join fun learning exercises and group activities to ensure that participants learn about the different ways to stop fires.

We share lessons learned from the exercises with the rest of the community so that everyone understands how to report fires and what to do in the event of a fire.

Employee training and briefing sessions at PT AMNL in Kalimantan
Employee training and briefing sessions at PT AMNL in Kalimantan.

No one wants to see a repeat of the forest fires in 2015. GAR/SMART will continue to invest in training on fire prevention and will be launching more employee awareness programmes in Jambi later this month.

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