Bushfire plan: Is it ready and practised?
We’re all hoping for a better bushfire season than last year. But if last year showed us anything, it’s that having a bushfire plan ready and practised is so important.
Education and care services and schools need to know their plan and be able to put it into action. Approved providers must ensure a risk assessment is conducted to identify potential emergencies that are relevant to the service (r. 97 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011).
If your education and care service or school is located in a bushfire risk area, outside of a Bushfire Safer Place, there is a real risk of bushfire impacting children, staff, buildings and grounds. Bushfire smoke is a significant threat to health and may impact many more services. Your service may also be directly affected by the loss of power, communications, water and road closures.
If your service or school has not recently done so, we recommend reviewing and updating your emergency-management policies and procedures and making sure you are bushfire ready.
Department for Education schools and preschools, and those services located on a Department for Education site, must follow the Department’s policies and procedures for emergency management. Catholic Education Services also apply the departmental policies and procedures.
Family day-care services sponsored by the Department for Education must develop their own emergency plan in line with departmental advice.
The Department for Education maintains a list on their website of schools and preschools that will close on days forecast as catastrophic fire-danger days.
Non-government and other education and care services need to review and update their emergency-management policies and procedures in consultation with their approved provider.
It is also important to let families know in advance what plans your service or school has for extreme weather days and in the event of a disruption or emergency. The Department for Education has a new resource which will assist: Bushfire and your child’s school or preschool.
Please notify the Education Standards Board if you need to close your school. In an emergency, please call to (08) 8226 0077 as soon as you can. (We understand that sometimes this is not possible straight away.) Then you should make a formal notification through the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA ITS) within 24 hours of closure. Refer to the quick reference guide for more information on how to lodge a notification.
For more information:
- Bushfire safety fact sheet, Education Standards Board
- Bushfire and your child’s school or preschool, Department for Education
- Bushfire and emergency closures information, Department for Education
- Emergency Planning handbook
- CFS Bushfire Information Hotline on 1800 362 361
- ABC local radio station or FIVEaa radio station.