Emergencies and Natural Disasters

Victorian schools are well prepared to deal with emergency situations. Each school has an emergency management plan that identifies procedures to follow in the event of an emergency.

If an emergency occurs, the school emergency management team is quickly established to support and meet the needs of students and families.

If there is an emergency situation during the school day, the safety and wellbeing of students is the highest priority. No student details will be released to anyone other than those authorised on their enrolment form.

To assist schools to prepare for and manage emergencies, we ask you to:

  • ensure your child’s emergency contact details held by the school are up-to-date
  • ensure school staff are alerted to any special medical or dietary requirements of your child
  • notify the school principal of any emergency situation involving your child.

For information on emergency management in bushfire affected areas, see: Emergencies and Natural Disasters

Support Following an Emergency or Natural Disaster

​There are a range of resources available to help you support your child if they are affected by an emergency or natural disaster.

Disasters and emergencies can leave children in a state of emotional turmoil where moods and thoughts change rapidly. It is common for children to experience physical symptoms such as sleeping difficulties, tummy upsets and loss of energy.

These are normal reactions and the way our bo​dies naturally respond to significant levels of stress. The immediate effects of stress should not necessarily be treated as an illness but as a normal part of the healing process, requiring time and the support of others.

More information and support services

  • Parentline or 13 22 89 - a state-wide telephone counselling service for parents and carers of children aged from birth to eighteen years
  • Kids Helpline or 1800 55 1800 - a free, confidential and anonymous, telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25
  • Lifeline on 131 114 - a 24 hour telephone counselling service offering care in times of crisis
  • Early Childhood Australia- a childhood advocacy organisation acting in the interests of young children, their families and those in the early childhood field
  • Raising Children Network- information to help parents with the day-to-day decisions of raising children and also parents and carers look after their own needs
  • Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network – a network that aims to promote understanding of child and adolescent trauma, loss and grief
  • Skylight - a New Zealand organisation that gives specialised support to children, young people and their families through change, loss, trauma and grief - whatever the cause.

Hoax Calls

A number of Victorian schools have received threatening phone calls this year.

Schools in other states across Australia have also received similar calls.

While all of the calls so far have been hoaxes, schools are taking the calls seriously and enacting their emergency management plans upon receiving a call.

Where a school has received a call and enacted its emergency management plan, parents and carers will be contacted by their school.

Our goal is for schools to operate as normal and parents and carers should assume that all schools will be open unless informed otherwise by their school.

While it is not part of the usual evacuation process for parents to pick up their children, depending on the circumstances, in some instances schools may ask parents, guardians and carers to do so. If parents, guardians and carers receive a phone call or text message to pick up their children, the child will need to be formally released from school to a parent/guardian/carer, or a friend or relative who is authorised to collect the child.

If the person collecting the child is not known to the school, the school will require identification to demonstrate that they are the parent, guardian or carer or an authorised person, and the person collecting must sign a release form or list so that the school can keep track of which children have left their care.

The Department has prepared advice for parents on supporting students who have been exposed to these events:

For more information, please contact your child’s school.​