Incident and emergency management


​​​​​​​​​​​​One of the core objectives of the National Quality Framework is to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of children attending approved education and care services.

In an emergency, a service​'s emergency and evacuation floor plan and instructions policy and procedures must be followed to lead children to a place of safety.

Approved providers must ensure early childhood education and care services have a policy and procedure for emergency and evacuation in place.

It is recommended that the approved provider develops their procedure in conjunction with an appropriate expert.

Emergency and evacuation procedures must:

  • set out clear instructions about what is to happen during an emergency
  • include detail about who must carry out each step, so that each person who may be involved in an emergency at the service knows exactly what they are expected to do and when
  • include an emergency and evacuation floor plan
  • be informed by a risk assessment undertaken by the service in relation to the possible types of emergencies and evacuations that may be required
  • be accessible to all service staff, educators and families.

Read more about developing service policies and procedures and access the national policy and procedure guidelines​.

All staff must be trained in and follow the procedure, including the nominated supervisor, educators and volunteers.

Approved providers should consider opportunities for families to be part of regular emergency evacuation rehearsals at the service to ensure they are also familiar with the procedure used at the service.

The procedure should also include (but not be limited to):

  • Details about lockdown and evacuation rehearsals and when they will be undertaken to comply with regulation 97 of the National Regulations. Information should include all alternative evacuation routes that could be utilised and assembly areas.
  • Details about contents of emergency evacuation bags (for example, mobile phone, emergency contact numbers, children feet covers, first aid kit, medications, attendance roll, nappies, food, water).
  • Details about any assessment to be undertaken following an emergency or rehearsal evacuation.
  • Details of any consultation with relevant authorities to undertake or as a result of assessment and monitoring of evacuation procedure​s.
  • Details about any associated record keeping documentation or checklists associated with the procedure.

Services operating in multi-storey buildings present a unique set of circumstances which must be taken into account to ensure a safe and effective environment for children, particularly in relation to the development and implementation of safe and effective emergency and evacuation plans.

Emergency and evacuation procedures in respect of services operating in multi-storey buildings may also consider:

  • details of when and how all staff will be trained in first aid response upon induction and at least once every 2 years
  • details of when and how staff will be trained in general evacuation procedures upon induction and at least once every 12 months
  • details about specific evacuation procedures for any non-ambulant infants and any staffing implications
  • specific instructions in relation to how the service assesses children's abilities to walk confidently prior to using evacuation stairwells and any staffing implications
  • specific instructions in relation to lifts not being used during an evacuation rehearsal or emergency unless authorised by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

Placement of emergency and evacuation floor plans and instructions

Approved providers in Queensland must ensure that a copy of the emergency and evacuation floor plans and instructions are displayed in a p​​rominent position near each exit that forms part of an evacuation route.

Reporting requirements

Under the National Law and Regulations, an approved provider must notify the regulatory authority of any serious incidents, change of circumstances and complaints including:

  • death of a child
  • any incident involving a serious injury or trauma of a child
  • any incident involving a serious illness of a child
  • any emergency for which emergency services attended
  • any circumstance where a child is missing, cannot be accounted for or appears to have been taken or removed from the service
  • any circumstance where a child is mistakenly locked in or out of the service premises or any part of the premises
  • any incident that requires the service to close or reduce the number of children attending
  • complaints alleging a serious incident has occurred or is occurring
  • complaints alleging the National Law has been contravened
  • ​attendance of additional children in an emergency at a centre-based service
  • circumstances at the service that pose a risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of children
  • any incident or allegation that physical or sexual abuse of a child or children has occurred or is occurring while the child or children are being educated and cared for by the service.

The Notification Decision Tree (NDT) can assist in deciding whether a notification is required and the timeframe in which that notification should be made.

Learn more about: reporting req​u​irements.

Related information

  • Quality Area 2—Children's health and​​ safety—Go to the ACECQA website to learn more about incident and emergency management including resources and information sheets.​
  • Developing policies and procedures—Every service is different, so policies and procedures need to address each service's operations and its unique context. Learn more about developing policies and procedures.
  • Policy and procedure guidelines—Use step-by-step guidelines to develop policies and procedures that cater for your service's unique circumstances and ensure children's safety, health and wellbeing.
  • ECS Act r​esources—​Access resources, forms and fact sheets related to operating a service under the ECS Act including emergency notification forms.


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Last updated 11 September 2023