Work Health and Safety Policies

Emergency Evacuation Policy

It is vital that if an emergency situation arises, it is handled effectively and with consideration for all involved. Supporting Educators and children with an emergency situation requires vigilant planning and consistent implementation.
Effective management of emergency situations provides an opportunity to help support and build on children’s coping mechanisms and resilience.

Aim

We aim to maintain the safety and wellbeing of each child, educator and individual using the service during an emergency or evacuation situation.

Legislative Requirements

National Quality Standard (NQS)

Quality Area 2: Children’s Health and Safety 

2.2. Safety – each child is protected.

2.2.1. Supervision – at all times, reasonable precautions and adequate supervision ensure children are protected from harm and hazard.

2.2.2. Incident and emergency management – plans to effectively manage incidents and emergencies are developed in consultation with relevant authorities, practised and implemented.

Education and Care Services National Regulations

Children (Education and Care Services) National Law NSW

97. Policies and procedures in relation to emergency and evacuation.

98. Emergency and evacuation procedures.

168. Telephone or other communication equipment.

Who Is Affected?

  • child
  • staff
  • management
  • families
  • visitors

Policy Implementation

An emergency is an unplanned, sudden or unexpected event or situation that requires immediate action to prevent harm, injury or illness to persons or damage to the Service’s environment. It is a risk to an individual’s health and safety.
The Approved Provider is responsible for ensuring:
  • All equipment, including warning alarm and communications systems, and fire extinguishing equipment etc. is maintained in accordance with the manufacture’s/installers instructions and that maintenance records are retained for two years.
  • All emergency and exit signs are clearly visible.
  • All persons in, at or near the service are appropriately trained for their role in the event of an emergency or critical incident.
  • Emergency and/or critical incident reporting, response and evacuation procedures or instructions are documented and practiced.
  • Emergency and evacuation procedures are available and accessible to all staff and visitors.
  • An evacuation plan that includes a clear diagram of the escape route and assembly area is prominently displayed in each classroom and at each fire exit at the Service.
  • Notices that clearly outline emergency contact telephone numbers are displayed adjacent to all telephone outlets in the Service and are kept in the First aid cabinets;
  • Access to firefighting equipment is maintained at all times and that the equipment is appropriately signposted;
  • That only qualified, accredited persons install, repair and/or maintain electrical equipment;
  • Access/escape routes and emergency exits are clear of obstructions at all times (that is, objects and/or vehicles are kept at least two (2) metres from any exit);
  • The relevant government health and safety authority is notified in the event of a serious emergency or critical incident;
  • Counselling and debriefing services are made available for all those involved in an emergency/critical incident situation where required. (The level of debriefing and/or counselling that may be required will vary according to the extent of the emergency and/or casualties, any difficulties experienced in implementing emergency procedures etc.);
  • The Approved Provider must ensure that emergency and evacuation procedures are rehearsed every three months, by the Nominated Supervisor or Responsible Person in charge, staff members and children.
  • The rehearsal of emergency and evacuation procedures are documented and reviewed for any identified issues and improvements to the process.
  • A risk assessment is conducted to identify potential emergencies that are relevant to the service when preparing the emergency and evacuation procedure
Employees are required to:
  • Become familiar with the layout of the building, the sound and duration of the alarm system used by the service, the nearest exit routes, assembly locations etc. A voice message will come through the audio system stating what the emergency is. A whistle will be placed in the Administration office as a back-up to the audio system.
  • Cooperate with, and follow any instructions given by the Nominated Supervisor/Responsible Person and/or emergency services in the event of an emergency/critical incident (real or practice drill);
  • Ensure security arrangements, computer passwords and back up details etc. are kept confidential;
  • Report and record any suspicious behaviour, vehicles, incidents or persons they observe within the vicinity of the Service;
  • Store their personal belongings out of sight, wherever possible. Lockable staff lockers are provided within the staffroom for these purposes;
  • Report maintenance issues as soon as is reasonably practicable, particularly in relation to outdoor lighting;
  • Open and close the service in pairs;
  • Check on arrival that ‘normal conditions’ are prevailing;
  • Close and lock all windows, and draw the curtains/blinds when closing the Service;
  • Securely store all equipment at the end of each day;
  • Check the electronic kiosk children attendance system before closing the Service;
  • Notify management if they are working at the Service outside of regular operating hours; and
  • Park their cars as near as possible to the Service particularly if they are leaving after sunset.

    The chief warden (Supervisor) is responsible for:

  • Informing all those in, at or near the Service of their role and responsibilities in the event of an emergency or critical incident.
  • Scheduling practice sessions, at a minimum, every three months (3) and when new employees join the Service outline this process to them during the induction process.
  • Ensuring all employees recognise the alert and evacuation signals and know the relevant procedures, escape routes, and assembly area(s); and
  • Supervising, recording, reviewing and evaluating (in conjunction with other members of staff) each practice drill and implementing improvements to the procedures as required.
In relation to unwelcome intruders, robberies and general security, proactive risk control measures implemented at the Service include: 
  • Access points to the Service are limited and are properly secured at all times;
  • The identification of all non-regular persons wishing to enter the service is checked before access is provided (for example, via a photo ID);
  • Employees open and close in pairs;
  • The internal and external areas of the Service are well lit at all times when persons are present;
  • Employees are encouraged to be alert for suspicious persons, motor vehicles, incidents within or outside the premises; and
  • The workplace is kept clear of potential weapons.
In relation to fire, proactive risk control measures implemented at the Service include: 
  • Waste is appropriately stored and regularly removed;
  • Fire-fighting equipment is installed and maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and Australian Standards;
  • Appliances are checked for faults (for example, frayed cords) before use; and
  • The use of extension cords, double adaptors etc. is discouraged.
 
In relation to snakes, spiders, insect bites, stings etc., proactive risk control measures implemented at the Service include: 
  • The outdoor play areas are checked daily for nests, webs, holes, hives etc.;
  • The children are regularly reminded to alert Educators/staff if they find a snake, spider etc. and to not provoke or attempt to touch any animals/insects/spiders that they do observe; and
  • Waste disposal areas are kept clean.
Circumstances under which evacuation will occur are as follows:
  • Fire within the building or playground
  • Fire in the surrounding area where the Service is in danger (If you are unsure how close the fire is call; Bush Fire Information Line – 1800 679 737).
  • Flood (call State Emergency Service – 132 500)
  • Terrorist threat
  • Others may include: gas explosion, traffic accident or event which could render the building unsafe
 
Important: The notification of a serious incident to a regulatory authority (within 24 hours) is needed where emergency services attended an education and care service in response to an emergency, rather than as a precaution or for any other reason.

Policy Review

Policies are reviewed regularly by management, employees, parents and any interested parties to ensure that they comply with Laws, Regulations and Guidelines.

Change Date
Policy created. February 1, 2016
Policy reviewed. Updated the references to comply with the revised National Quality Standard. December 1, 2017
Policy reviewed. Changes to layout. Grammar and punctuation edited. Additional information added to points. Sources checked for currency. February 1, 2018
Policy reviewed. Updated details on where evacuation signs are positioned throughout the Service (each classroom & each fire exit). Grammar edited. July 2, 2018
Policy reviewed. Operations Manager modified location of evacuation signs to a broader definition (at each exit). August 1, 2019
Policy reviewed. Reviewed by Approved Provider, definition of exit returned to ‘each classroom & each fire exit’ to reflect the fire standards AS 3745_2010. September 2, 2019