Bush Fire

Purpose
To provide clear guidelines to the educators and other stakeholders to follow the emergency evacuation plan during the bush fire emergencies and ensure their duty of care is carried out as required.

Scope
These guidelines will apply to the Approved provider, nominated supervisor, Certified supervisor, educators, staff, students on placement, volunteers, parents, children and others attending the service.

Objective
To keep all children and educator’s safe at all times. Therefore, in the instance of a bush fire, the service will act at all times to protect the educators and children in line with recommendations and instructions from relevant emergency authorities.

PROCEDURES
Our service will prepare a Bushfire Action Plan should a bushfire affect the service’s operations.
The aim of this Bushfire Action Plan is to outline the activities that educators, children, families and visitors to be undertaken in the following circumstances:

  1. On days of very high, severe, extreme fire ratings including Total Fire Bans
  2. When there is a fire in the local district.
  3. When a bushfire is threatening or impacting the site.
  4. During a period of recovery if a bushfire impacts the service.

During peak bush fire seasons, such as Spring and Summer, educators will monitor the Fire Danger Rating daily. If the Rating is Very High or above, Co-ordinators and educators will monitor the situation via the internet, radio or other form of local communication to stay aware of the current situation. Our service will not accept children for care on days when there is an extreme or catastrophic danger rating applying in the immediate area.

Our educators will follow a “leave early” policy rather than a “stay and defend” policy whenever a bushfire may impact a family day care residence that is educating and caring for children.

Preparation
Before the Bush Fire danger period (1 October to 31 March) our family day care educators/family day care co-ordinator will:

  • Ensure Fire alarm check is completed by each family day care and the certificate is displayed
  • Ensure family day care educator practiced the fire drill every three months and prior to the bush fire season
  • Family day care facilities at the highest risk of fire danger are placed on the Department’s Bushfire At-Risk Register.
  • Ensure trees are trimmed to a distance of 2m from buildings.
  • Remove any dead branches, leaves and undergrowth from around buildings
  • Remove bark, heavy mulch, wood piles and other flammable materials close to buildings
  • Arrange for any lopping of branches if necessary
  • Arrange for gutters and roofs to be regularly cleaned and kept free of leaves
  • Ensure tile and paintwork on buildings is well maintained
  • Ensure there is well maintained equipment to fight fires (eg long hoses with nozzles, buckets, sprinklers, petrol/diesel powered pump)
  • Prepare a bushfire survival kit which will be organised and stored somewhere that is easily accessible. This kit will include:
  • A copy of the Bushfire Action Plan
  • Emergency Contact Details for each child.
  • Child attendance registers.
  • Emergency telephone numbers.
  • Street Nominated Supervisor
  • Working torch and spare batteries
  • First Aid Kit.
  • Educators/Children Medications and Medical Register
  • Mobile Phone and Charger
  • Drinking Water
  • Nappies
  • Woollen blankets
  • Towels
  • Potty
  • Change Mat
  • Gloves
  • Nappy Wipes
  • Smoke mask
  • Goggles
  • Battery operated radio and spare batteries

This Kit will be checked at the start of Spring for contents.

Very High, Severe or Extreme Fire Danger Ratings including Total Fire Bans and when Fire is Reported in the Local District

  • On days where the Fire Danger Rating is Very High, Severe of Extreme, or when fore is reported in the local district, the service will inform families by posting a warning on the front door/foyer/noticeboard and also oral communication.
  • Children will be transitioned throughout the day as per our usual practice.
  • Any educators who planned to attend off-site training will stay at the service and have their training cancelled/rescheduled.

The Family Day Care Co-ordinator/educators will ensure that:

  • all gates have access keys and ensure the locks are in working order.
  • all outdoor taps are in working order with hoses attached and buckets placed beside each exterior tap
  • any outdoor industrial dumpster is closed at all times.
  • all hazards are removed from passages and walkways and nothing is blocking emergency exits.
  • All educators will monitor conditions when outside. Educators will also ensure that no art and craft work, posters etc are hung outside and that garbage bins are emptied throughout the day.
  • Educators will ensure Bushfire Survival Kit is easily accessible and contains a mobile phone which is in full working order, has a fully charged battery, and a battery charger. The Emergency Contact register, Daily Roll and the medical register for the day will also be added to the kit.
  • Family members will be required to provide a reliable contact number for the day together with their child’s asthma medication.

Fire Reported in Local District

  • In addition to the steps outlined in the previous section of the policy:
  • The Family Day care Co-ordinator will contact educators that may be impacted by the fire to discuss the situation and ensure all preparation activities have been undertaken. They will also ensure there is a current evacuation plan in place that can be implemented after considering any local road closures etc.
  • All children’s activities outside the building will be cancelled.
  • Educators, families and visitors to the service will be encouraged to reverse park their cars.
  • The Family Day Care Co-ordinator/educators will:
    1. turn off any gas cylinders
    2. back up all computer files.
    3. ensure that whistles are in place beside each portable fire extinguisher so they can be used to notify everyone if a fire starts on site.
  • Educators will be diligent in ensuring children’s personal items are placed in their bags when not in use.

Fire Reported in Immediate Vicinity or Directly Impacting the Service
The steps outlined in the previous sections will be followed immediately.

In addition:
The Family Day Care Co-ordinator/educators will contact and liaise with the emergency services.

Educators will:

  • turn off power and gas (including gas cylinders)
  • take appropriate action e.g. move to shelter-in-place or evacuate the room/s, closing all doors and windows or shelter in the building.
  • If sheltering in the building:
  • move all hoses inside building
  • close all doors and windows
  • access the roof space every 10-20 minutes to check for spot fires.
  • soak towels and place under external doors
  • Block drain pipes and fill gutters with water
  • Continually patrol property for spot fires and extinguish
  • Remove curtains, move furniture away from windows
  • Educators will inform the approved provider of the situation and regularly keep them updated.
  • The approved provider/family day care co-ordinator will inform the regulator about the situation, advising the number of children affected, the educator ratios in place and any issues or injuries that have arisen.

Recovery after the Front has passed.

The Family Day Care Co-ordinator will:

  • ensure that no educators, family members, children or visitors leave the family day care residence/venue or evacuation centre until the situation is considered safe by the emergency services
  • at all times work to keep the regulator aware of the situation, including the number of children affected, emergency educator’s ratios in place, any issues that arose and if possible the impact to the service.


The family day care co-ordinator/educators OR the Emergency Response Team made up of nominated educators will

  • assess the situation and if necessary make arrangements for the care of children for an extended period of time
  • continue to check the building and surrounds for 2-4 hours after the front has passed
  • arrange to have firefighting equipment, warning system and Bushfire Safety and First Aid Kits checked and readied for use again.
  • Educators at the service will stay on duty until all children have been collected or relief educators arrive.
  • Only a qualified educator will administer first aid should the situation arise.
  • Relevant educators will undertake a debrief of the fire emergency and the procedures undertaken. Educators will be requested to review their own roles, responsibilities and preparation before and during the crisis. The policy will be reviewed to ascertain its effectiveness.
  • If necessary, the owner/Family Day Care Co-ordinator will arrange for relevant authorities to check the safety of the site.
  • Children’s Health and Wellbeing Act 2009
  • Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005
  • Health and Safety Act 2004
  • Health Records Act 2001 (Vic)
  • Health (Infectious Diseases) Regulations 2001
  • Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986 (Cwlth)
  • Information Privacy Act 2000
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
  • Privacy Act 2000 (Vic.)
  • Working with Children Act 2000

RELATED POLICIES

  • Administration of First Aid
  • Approval, and Reassessment of Approved Family Day Care Venues
  • Assessment of Educators, Assistants, and Persons Residing at the Family Day Care Residence
  • Authorisations – Acceptance and Refusal
  • Code of Conduct
  • Complaints and Grievances
  • Confidentiality
  • Engagement or Registration of Family Day Care Educators and Assistants
  • Enrolment and Orientation
  • Excursions
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Medical Conditions

Related resources

  • Department of Education and Training (DET)
  • Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA)
  • Guide for Family Day Care Educators
  • DEECD Emergency Management Guidelines
  • Protecting the Safety and Wellbeing of Children and Young People
  • Children’s Wellbeing Act 2005
  • Victorian Government of Human Services
  • DHS Communicable Diseases Unit on 1300 651 160
  • DHS Communicable Diseases Exclusion Table
  • Work safe Victoria – First Aid Kit Requirements
  • Notification of a serious incident – information and requirements to report

REVIEW

POLICY REVIEWED

July 2018

NEXT REVIEW DATE

July 2019

MODIFICATIONS

Policy created for First Idea Family Day Care Services, inclusive of changes to the National Quality Standards and Education and Care National Regulations

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