Emergencies and incidents happen at early childhood services when least expected, so it pays to be prepared.
Preparation includes developing, and regularly rehearsing, reviewing and updating, your emergency and evacuation policy and procedures.
This is vital to ensuring the safety of everyone at the service and compliance with the National Quality Framework.
Approved providers should consider consulting an emergency procedure expert to ensure each of their services effectively manages incidents and emergencies.
These 3 steps will help make your service ready for an emergency or incident:
Ensure your policy and procedures are site-specific
Each service must have a site-specific policy and procedures that set out instructions for what must be done in an incident or emergency and include an evacuation floor plan.
Site-specific policies and procedures are needed as all buildings are constructed and configured differently and all services educate and care for children of different ages and abilities.
Services in larger or multi-storey buildings should complement and match their policy and procedures with any emergency management plan and fire engineering report for the premises.
Rehearse and document
Rehearse and document your lockdown and evacuation processes, and then review and update your policies and procedures as needed, every 3 months.
Keep a schedule of announced and unannounced rehearsals – choose alternative routes at different times and days so children, staff, volunteers and visitors become familiar with all evacuation routes.
Make sure to document these rehearsals.
Review and update
Review your policy and procedures regularly, and update if needed.
Do evacuation instructions detail how to safely evacuate all children, including babies and children who cannot walk unaided?
Are the evacuation routes clear and gates easy to open and evacuation equipment able to fit through?
Are assembly areas safe and suitable for the number of children attending the service?
Do you have written authority to use these assembly areas if they are outside the service’s premises?
Have you incorporated any lessons learned from your rehearsals?
emergency and evacuation policy and procedures guidelines for helpful information on what to include and things to consider.
Developing policies and procedures (explains what is a policy, what is a procedure and what is adequacy)
Display of emergency and evacuation floor plan and instructions
Notification Decision Tree (a guide to deciding whether to notify the Regulatory Authority of an incident and when)
Incident and emergency management
Guidance for approved providers – early childhood services operating in multi-storey buildings (includes the elements of an effective emergency and evacuation plan)