Heat and bushfires: what to do?
Hot weather and bushfire risk is part of life in South Australia in summer—and increasingly in spring. But what are your responsibilities as an approved provider of an education and care service or school?
With dangerous bushfire conditions and hot weather likely this summer, we want to remind services and schools to take action to help children and staff stay safe.
Know your extreme weather policy and bushfire plan and put them into action.
Have a bushfire plan and use it
If your education and care service or school is located in a bushfire prone area, or is in or near bushland, it could be at risk this summer. This means bushfire could impact children, staff, buildings and grounds.
If your service or school has not recently done so, we recommend reviewing and updating your bushfire-management policies and procedures.
Department for Education schools and preschools, and services located on a Department for Education site, must follow the department’s policies and procedures for bushfire management.
Family day-care services sponsored by the department must develop their own bushfire action plan.
On days forecast as catastrophic in certain regions, Department for Education schools and preschools in those regions will close. Here is the list.
Non-government schools and other education and care services should check if their approved provider has a policy and follow it.
It’s important to let families know in advance if your service or school has special plans for extreme weather days.
Approved providers of education and care services should notify the Education Standards Board by email if they are closing their service.
Staying healthy in heat
It’s not just bushfires that bring risks. Hot weather, particularly if it’s over several days or weeks with hot nights, can affect everyone’s health.
Keep children inside in air conditioning when it’s too hot. Use shady play areas and water play. Ensure that children drink plenty of water and follow your SunSmart practices.
Some playground surfaces can overheat and burn children, but the test for this is really simple. Put your hand on a surface; and if you can leave it there comfortably for five seconds, it should be okay. If you cannot hold your hand on the surface, children may suffer burns before they can react to the temperature.
If children or staff are unwell, please contact your local GP or visit www.healthdirect.gov.au. For immediate medical attention, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.
- Have plans, policies and procedures for extreme heat and bushfire risk days.
- Make sure staff, parents and children know what happens on these days.
- Put your plans, policies and procedures into action.
For more information:
- Bushfire safety fact sheet, Education Standards Board
- Bushfire and emergency closures information, Department for Education
- CFS Bushfire Information Hotline: 1300 362 361
- ABC local radio station or FIVEaa radio station.
- Healthy in the heat, SA Health