New procedure for the bushfire season

5 Jan 2011

The way kindergartens, child care centres and family day schemes 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 bushfire risk will be closed on days declared by fire authorities to be Code Red.

Our facility has not been identified as being at high bushfire risk – we will not be pre-emptively closed on a Code Red day.

While our facility has not been identified as being at highest bushfire risk, our facility is well-positioned to respond to all emergencies – including an unpredicted breakout of a fire or a known fire unexpectedly changing course. When this occurs, our facility’s emergency management plan will ensure that we respond to the threat in a timely and appropriate manner.

As part of preparing all Victorian children’s services for this year’s fire season we have completed the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s self-assessment of our emergency preparedness. We are also updating our emergency management plan and have prioritised any maintenance works that may assist in preparing for the threat of fire.  An example of this is the installation of a gateway and new concrete pathway at the west end of the centre. This means that cots can be used to evacuate children quickly and safely from the babies rooms. You can view our emergency management procedures in the parents section of our website http://www.mcfco.org.au/parents or talk to staff.

What can parents do?

Make sure we have your current contact details, including your mobile phone numbers. Keep in touch with us by reading our emails and notices, by checking our website www.mcfco.org.au and by talking to your child’s carer or other staff members.

You are encouraged to check your own Family Bush Fire Action Plan and update it if necessary.  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 – particularly if you are planning day trips or holidays to fire-prone areas.
On all days of high fire risk, children should never be left at home in the care of older children.

You can access more information about bushfires and children’s  services on the Department of Education and Training website – see www.education.vic.gov.au/bushfires.

For up-to-date information on this year’s fire season, visit the CFA website at www.cfa.vic.gov.au or call the 24-hour Victorian Bushfires Information Line on 1800 240 667.