School procedures for the bushfire season
Fire danger ratings and warnings are used in Victoria to provide clear direction on the safest options for preserving life.
Schools – and children’s services – identified as being at highest bushfire risk have been included on the Bushfire-At Risk Register (BARR) and will be closed on days determined by fire authorities to be Code Red. Our school has been identified as a school at highest bushfire risk and is listed on the BARR.
Where possible, we will provide parents with up to three days notice of a planned closure following the issue of a Code Red warning by the CFA. We will contact you directly by a letter sent home with your child with advice on planned closures and will confirm the decision to close by 12 noon the day before the planned closure. This decision will also be listed on our website home page at www.mbsc.vic.edu.au
Once confirmed, the decision to close will not change, regardless of improvements in the weather forecast. This is to avoid confusion and help your family plan alternative care arrangements for your child.
- No staff will be on site on days when the school is closed by the risk of fire.
- Out-of-school care will be cancelled on these days.
- School camps will be cancelled if the area where the camp is taking place is at risk.
- There may also be changes to school bus routes. Depending on routes, this may also occur on days when the school is not closed.
On these Code Red days families are encouraged to enact their Bushfire Survival Plan – on such days, children should never be left at home unattended or in the care of older children.
For those of us living in a bushfire-prone area, the safest option when a Code Red day is declared may be to leave the night before, or early in the morning of the Code Red day.
What can parents do?
- Make sure your family’s Bushfire Survival Plan is up-to-date and includes alternative care arrangements for your children in the event that our school is closed.
- Ensure we have your current contact details, including your mobile phone numbers. Keep in touch with us by reading our newsletters, by checking our website www.mbsc.vic.edu.au and by talking to your child’s teacher or any other member of the teaching staff about our emergency plans.
- Most importantly at this time of year, if you’re planning a holiday or short stay in the bush or in a coastal area, you should check warnings in advance of travel and remain vigilant during your stay.
- If your child is old enough, talk to them about bushfires and your family’s Bushfire Survival Plan.
- You can access more information about school closures on the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development website – see http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/health/pages/emergencies.aspx
For up-to-date information on this year’s fire season and Bushfire Survival Planning, visit the CFA website at www.cfa.vic.gov.au or call the 24-hour Victorian Bushfires Information Line on 1800 240 667.