NEW PROCEDURES FOR THE BUSHFIRE SEASON
The way kindergartens and child care centres in Victoria respond to bushfires has been revised.
New fire danger ratings and warnings have been introduced in Victoria to provide clear direction on the safest options for preserving life.
Children’s services – and schools – identified as being at highest fire risk will be closed on days declared by fire authorities to be Code Red. Our facility has been identified as being one of those at highest bushfire risk.
Where possible, we will provide parents with up to three days notice of a planned closure. We will contact you directly by notice and/or SMS with advice on planned closures and will confirm the decision to close by 12 noon the day before the planned closure.
Once confirmed, the decision to close will not change, regardless of improvements in the weather forecast. This is to avoid confusion and help your family plan alternative care arrangements for your child.
No staff will remain on site when the facility is closed by the risk of fire. On days such as these, families are encouraged to enact their Bushfire Survival Plan.
For those of us living in a bushfire prone area, when Code Red days are forecast, the safest option is to leave the night before, or early in the morning of the Code Red day.
On all days of high fire risk, children should never be left at home in the care of older children.
As part of preparing our facility for the threat of fire, we have completed the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s self-assessment of our emergency preparedness. We have also updated our emergency management plan.
What can parents do?
Make sure your family’s bushfire survival plan is up-to-date and includes alternative care arrangements in the event that our facility is closed. Make sure we have your current contact details, including your mobile phone numbers. Keep in touch with us by reading our newsletters, and by talking to your child’s teacher or any other member of our staff.
Most importantly at this time of year, if you’re planning a holiday or short stay in the bush or in a coastal area, you should check warnings in advance of travel and remain vigilant during your stay. If your child is old enough, talk to them about bushfires and your family’s bushfire survival plan.
You can access more information about children’s services closures on the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development website – see www.education.vic.gov.au/bushfires.