ECEC services encouraged to prepare for natural disasters
The Sector > Quality > Compliance > ECEC services encouraged to prepare for natural disasters

ECEC services encouraged to prepare for natural disasters

by Freya Lucas

November 22, 2023

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) services across Australia have been warned to prepare for the summer months and to safeguard against bushfires and other natural disasters.




Many parts of Australia can experience extreme or unpredictable weather meaning it’s important for services to plan for and prepare for extreme weather events, including understanding the risks, reviewing emergency and business continuity plans, and packing an emergency kit.


The physical environment of the service should also be inspected, including the roof, gutter and downpipes of the service to ensure they are free of leaves to reduce the risk of embers taking hold and so that stormwater can drain quickly instead of backing up and overflowing in the case of wet weather.


Services should have a comprehensive first aid kit as well as an emergency kit containing the following items:


  • Wide masking tape for windows
  • Battery-powered radio tuned to the local ABC station  for emergency updates
  • Torches with spare batteries
  • Charged mobile phone and a hardcopy list of family contacts
  • Phone numbers for emergency services
  • Large garbage bags for emergency rain protection.


Staying connected


The local council is often the first point of call for information and direction during a natural disaster. Services are encouraged to bookmark the relevant notification page on their council’s website to monitor conditions, closures and outages.


Some local governments send severe weather alerts to subscribers by email and SMS. Check your council’s website to see whether they offer this service.




In the event that an ECEC service must close due to bushfire or another natural disaster, approved providers must notify the Regulatory Authority of the service’s closure as per National Regulations, r 175(2)(b)


The early childhood service closures page has details of how to notify of a closure. In the event that a service loses internet access, they should contact the Regulatory Authority via phone, and a staff member will enter the notification. 


Families and members of the public can access up-to-date information about service closures via the service and temporary closure information page on the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) website.


Managing incidents and emergencies 


Services should ensure their emergency and evacuation policies and procedures are current and that parents are notified of any changes to these policies and procedures.


Emergency and evacuation procedures should be regularly reviewed and rehearsed which will help educators and staff to handle emergencies calmly, reducing the risk of harm or injury.


Given the inherent nature of emergency and evacuation situations, relevant policies and procedures should be sufficiently detailed and well understood so that all staff can react confidently and undertake their designated role in an emergency situation.


To comply with legislation and to be effective, emergency and evacuation policy and procedures must be rehearsed and documented every three months.

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