Emergency management processes, procedures and requirements for early childhood education and care services.
Emergency Management Policy and Procedures Requirements
An emergency can be an incident, situation or event where there is an imminent or severe risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of a person at an early childhood education and care service. Examples of emergencies include floods, bushfires or situations which require a service to be locked down.
All reasonable precautions must be taken to protect anyone at the service during an emergency.
Early childhood education and care services are required to have policies and procedures in relation to emergencies and evacuations. See:
- National Regulations regulation 97 and regulations 168 to 172
- Children’s Services Regulations regulation 79
A copy of the service’s emergency and evacuation policy and procedures must be available for inspection at the service premises, family day care residence or venue at all times or on request.
Preparing Emergency and Evacuation Procedures
Approved providers must conduct a risk assessment to identify potential emergencies that may impact on their service.
Emergency and evacuation procedures must include:
- Instructions for what to do in the event of an emergency
- An emergency and evacuation floor plan
- Emergency evacuation floor plans are required to be prominently displayed near each exit of an early childhood education and care service’s premises, family day care residence and family day care venue.
When preparing your service’s emergency management policy and procedures, consider:
- Consulting with relevant authorities for guidance and advice, such as the CFA and other local authorities on the management of bushfire risk and emergencies. See NQS Element 2.3.3
- Identifying circumstances when decisions could be made to close the service and how closures will be communicated and managed
- The approaches of other nearby facilities when developing your procedures for specific emergencies
- Checking that your emergency contact details are up-to-date in your procedures and plans.
NQF services can update their details online at the NQA ITS portal.
Services regulated under the Children’s Services Act 1996 should email their updated details to email@example.com.
Rehearsal of Emergency and Evacuation Procedures
Education and care services are required to regularly rehearse their emergency and evacuation procedures (see regulation 97):
Centre-based services must:
- Conduct a rehearsal every 3 months and document it
- Involve everyone who is present at the service at the time of the rehearsal. This includes all staff members, volunteers and children and the responsible person in relation to service who is present at the time of the rehearsal.
Family day care services must:
- Conduct a rehearsal every 3 months and document it
- Involve each family day care educator and the children being educated by the family day care educator on the day of the rehearsal.
Services must keep a documented record of each rehearsal.
Managing Bushfire Risk and Emergencies
Victoria has a number of fire-prone areas where there is a higher risk of bushfire activity. Risk assessments to identify potential emergencies relevant to a service should consider the likelihood and impact of bushfires. The Department of Education and Training has established a comprehensive approach for Victorian schools and early childhood education and care services to be prepared for bushfire.
Pre-emptive school relocation or closure on forecast elevated Fire Danger Rating days (Government school policy)
The Department has a pre-emptive school relocation or closure on forecast elevated Fire Danger Rating days policy. This policy affects early childhood services or outside school hours care services located on government school sites or that are close to a government school in a high designated bushfire risk area.
The policy also outlines that in exceptional circumstances, some government schools may pre-emptively close or relocate when an Extreme Fire Danger Rating day is forecast.
The Pre-emptive school relocation or closure on forecast Extreme Fire Danger Rating days policy
Further guidance on the policy for government schools related to this fire rating see School Policy – Bushfire Preparedness.
Understanding Bushfire ratings and warnings
Fire ratings are maintained and updated on a daily basis for each CFA district in Victoria and published on the CFA website and provide information and warnings about how dangerous a fire would be if started in the specific district on a specific day. Warnings are based on incident conditions and impact on the community. A first warning issued by the CFA could be the highest level of warning.
Services located in areas identified as high-risk locations should monitor the CFA website for declared Code Red days.
Early childhood education and care services listed on the Department’s Bushfire at-Risk Register (BARR) are required to close on days declared Code Red in the area the service is located. See CFA website fire danger ratings.
If an extreme or severe fire danger rating is declared for the district, services should follow their emergency and evacuation policy and procedures to reduce the risks and maintain children’s safety and wellbeing. This may include identifying circumstances where a decision is made to pre-emptively close the service.
Bushfire At-Risk Register (BARR) services
Early childhood education and care services located in areas considered to be at risk from bushfire are listed on the Department’s Bushfire at-Risk Register (BARR).
The Department’s Security and Emergency Management Division reviews the BARR annually. Inclusion on the BARR has been informed by an analysis completed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
Services listed on the BARR have additional conditions imposed on their service approval which require the approved provider to ensure their service:
- Does not operate on any day declared by the Victorian Emergency Management Commissioner as a Code Red Fire Danger Rating day
- Prepares an Emergency Management Plan (EMP) for their service to manage bushfire related risk and emergencies
- A copy of the service’s current Emergency Management Plan (EMP) must be submitted to the Regulatory Authority by 1 September each year.
Outside School Hours Care Services (OSHC) that are co-located on a school site may choose to work with the school to develop a single emergency management plan. In these circumstances, it is advisable that a separate risk assessment is completed for the OSHC service, and any special requirements about operating outside of normal school hours are incorporated in this plan.
Family day care services operating in Victoria have additional bushfire related conditions imposed on their service approval which require the approved provider to ensure:
- They identify and maintain a record of their family day care educators operating from a residence or venue that may be at risk from bushfire
- The identified family day care educators or venues in bushfire prone areas do not operate on any day declared by the Victorian Emergency Management Commissioner as a Code Red Fire Danger Rating day
- The family day care service prepares an Emergency Management Plan (EMP) to manage bushfire related risk and emergencies related to their service.
Contact the Department’s Security and Emergency Management Division by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need more information about your service being included on the BARR or for emergency management planning.
Emergency Management Plans (EMP)
An up-to-date Emergency Management Plan (EMP) is an important requirement to ensure services and educators are prepared for bushfire risks and emergencies.
Things to consider when developing and updating an Emergency Management Plan (EMP):
- Check regularly to keep service’s emergency contact details up-to-date
- Identify methods for monitoring bushfire risks and events
- Develop processes for identifying, managing and communicating events that may lead to planned, unplanned or pre-emptive closure of the service
- Test your Plan regularly to ensure it works as intended - update it as required
- Consult with relevant authorities to improve the effectiveness of your Plan
- Communicate your Plan to your service’s community.
See Emergency Management Resources for more information.
Submitting your Emergency Management Plan
The BARR listed service’s Emergency Management Plan (EMP) must be submitted to the Department by 1 September each year.
NQF approved services on the BARR must submit their Emergency Management Plan (EMP) via the NQA ITS Online Portal by completing an RI01 RA Requested Information form and selecting “Emergency Management Plan” as the type of document to upload.
Services on the BARR Licensed under the Children's Services Act 1996 should email their Emergency Management Plan (EMP) to email@example.com.
Emergency Management Resources
A range of resources have been created to assist services in developing their emergency management plans, they include:
Pandemic influenza incident response plan
Human Influenza Pandemic Incident Response Procedures (docx - 244.86kb)
Bushfire and grassfire checklist
Bushfire and grassfire readiness checklist (docx - 131.14kb)
Fire safety poster
Download our fire safety poster (pdf - 827.43kb) to display at your service.
Tutorials and online training
A number of short video tutorials are available to assist with developing area maps, evacuation diagrams and communication trees within the Emergency Management Plan template document. The tutorials demonstrate simple steps to use MS PowerPoint and MS Word to produce these items.
Voluntary and community-based fire and emergency services organisations in Victoria, see Country Fire Authority (CFA).
For fire and flood warnings or to view emergency incidents in Victoria, see VicEmergency.
For weather warnings, see Bureau of Meteorology.
The Department is the Regulatory Authority in Victoria.
Phone: 1300 307 415
For further information regarding emergency and evacuation policies and procedures requirements, contact the relevant regional office Quality Assessment and Regulation: Regional Offices.
For further information in relation to emergency management planning contact Operations and Emergency Management at your DET region.
- South West Victoria 03 5337 8429
- South East Victoria 03 8765 5745
- North Western Victoria 03 5440 3175
- North Eastern Victoria 03 8392 9336