Getting prepared for summer

As summer has started, please ensure that your service is monitoring any extreme weather events.

Image of a clipboard with and piece of paper with the heading Emergency Preparedness Checklist.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting much warmer and drier conditions in summer, which could lead to an early start to the fire season in some parts of Victoria. Recent years of wetter conditions means there is plenty of fuel available to burn once it dries out. Extreme heat and heatwaves are considered more likely this summer.

Preparedness and Emergency Management Plans

All early childhood services must have emergency and evacuation policies and procedures. Parents and carers should also be familiar with your arrangements in case of an emergency.

In addition, services located in areas at risk of bushfires or grassfires, including those on the department’s Bushfire At-Risk Register (BARR) or Category 4 list, must have an Emergency Management Plan (EMP) as part of their service’s policies and procedures that includes details of how they will manage these issues. Family day care services (FDC) must have an EMP for their educators.

When preparing for the summer season, review your EMP and remember to update key sections, including contact details.

Services should ensure all service contact details are up to date for the department’s records.

Approved providers of long day care (LDC) or Out of School Hours (OSHC) services listed on the Bushfire At Risk Register (BARR) or Category 4 must ensure that:

  • the service does not operate on a forecast Catastrophic Fire Danger Rating (FDR) day in the area or district where the service is located.
  • the service’s emergency and evacuation policies include an EMP to manage bushfire and grass fire related risks.

Approved providers of FDC services must have an EMP for their services and FDC educators and ensure their FDC educators who reside in areas or districts with a forecast Catastrophic Fire Danger Rating (FDR) day do not operate their service.

A robust EMP that considers all the hazards your site faces (such as thunderstorms, floods, heatwaves, intruders) will help keep your children, staff, and community safe.

Services should be aware of fire danger, weather forecasts and warnings in their local area.

If you are organising excursions or activities offsite, be sure to monitor the local conditions or risks, so that you can cancel, modify or relocate at any time if needed.

You can prepare your service for the high-risk weather season by clearing vegetation near buildings, updating your emergency kit, and communicating with parents and the local community what your plans are in an emergency.

The department supports early childhood services during an emergency. Trained staff are available to help respond to emergencies. These staff work closely with emergency services to ensure the safety of early childhood communities.

In the event of an emergency

Services should contact 000 as required and enact their EMP.

Additional information can also be sought to support decision making during emergencies through the department as well as the VicEmergency app.

Please report any emergency events to the department as early as it safe to do so. For more information, refer to Notifying the early childhood Regulatory Authority about incidents and complaints.

It is important for services to report the impacts in an emergency early, to help the department to understand the scale and severity of an event, and consider what support options we may be able to provide.

VicEmergency app and emergency warnings

Ahead of summer and the bushfire season, it’s important for everyone to understand the three warning levels that may be issued in an emergency and the action they need to take.

Warnings are the same for bushfires, floods, storms and extreme heat, and come with an action statement that will tell you exactly what to do in an emergency.

Download the VicEmergency app from your app store to learn more and receive emergency warnings.

Find out more

For more information, refer to:

For further enquiries, contact the Security and Emergency Management Division by email: emergency.management@education.vic.gov.au

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