VIC – Essential Property Services advise that in preparedness for the impending ‘bushfire’ season, schools across Victoria are reviewing and/or implementing current processes and procedures to ensure readiness amongst staff and students.
After the 2009 ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires, specific bushfire safeguards for schools were introduced. The Victorian Registration Qualifications Authority (VRQA) require all schools to provide evidence of a Critical Incident Plan and a site specific Emergency Management Plan which, must include guidelines for bushfire management. It is also a requirement by the VRQA that a school’s Emergency Plan is to be reviewed annually and after any emergency event.
In addition to this, the VRQA require any school classified to be on the bush fire ‘at risk’ register, to;
- Provide additional emergency procedures relating to the their school’s specific bushfire preparedness measures.
- Ensure all staff are trained on their specific roles and responsibilities in preparing for and implementing the bushfire procedures including, the correct use of any relevant emergency equipment.
- Provide evidence that all staff complete the training.
- Keep documented, an up to date register of any bushfire related emergency equipment, in working order, including equipment such as; fire hydrants, hose reels and extinguishers and,
- Provide evidence that procedures are tested, in the form of an Emergency Response Exercise, at lease once a term during the ‘bushfire’ season (October through to March).
As a result of the report of the Bushfire Royal Commission, in August 2014 the VRQA implemented new requirements under their Guidelines for Bushfire Preparedness, which will now see ‘Non-Government’ institutions across Victoria, adopt the same ‘best practice’ approach as Government and Catholic schools, in reviewing the Emergency Plan on an annual basis and conducting at a minimum, an annual Emergency Response Exercise.
Occupational Health & Safety Legislation
Refer to our Occupational Health & Safety Legislation Table for further statutory information on safe occupation of a building including the Emergency Control Organisation and Emergency Management Plan.