All childcare facilities are required to describe their emergency and evacuation instructions as part of their emergency and evacuation policy. As a childcare facility, you should ensure that you have emergency and evacuation policies and procedures in place in order to be compliant with Education and Care Services National Regulations, which are:
- Regulation 168 that policies and procedures are in place for emergency and evacuation
- Regulation 170 take reasonable steps to ensure those policies and procedures are followed.
How can Workplace Emergency Management review your emergency and evacuation policy?
The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) provides a fact sheet to assist in the development of your service’s policies.
This is a comprehensive guide that can be used with confidence to review most sections of your policy. However, you are likely to need professional assistance when planning or reviewing your emergency and evacuation procedures, a service in which Workplace Emergency Management would be happy to assist you with.
What does ACECQA recommend to review our emergency and evacuation procedures?
While the ACECQA fact sheet on Emergency and Evacuation Policy Guidelines can take you through most of the policy review, to establish or review your procedures in sufficient detail and to comply with Regulation 97, ACECQA recommends:
“Consider consulting with relevant authorities in your jurisdiction, such as a fire safety adviser or emergency services authority, for advice about evacuation plans and emergency exits when developing your policies and procedures (refer to National Quality Standard Element 2.2.2). Consultation involves communicating with those authorities in order to receive advice that is specific to your service. “
ACECQA Fact sheet: Emergency and Evacuation Policy Guidelines
Who is a ‘relevant authority’ and how can they help us?
A local emergency service may provide opportunity to collaborate and discuss some of the types of emergencies in your local area. this is a valuable link with your local community (Quality Area 6).
You may choose to engage a professional service offering emergency management advice, such as Workplace Emergency Management (WEM). Our advice will refer to both the Australian Standards AS3745 as well as Regulation 97. It is important to be aware that Regulation 97 sets a different, at times higher standard for ensuring the safety of children at a service than AS3745, and that AS3745 uses different terminology to Regulation 97. WEM consultants will be able to guide you to make decisions that are compliant with the Australian Standards, National Childcare Regulations and the Workplace Health and Safety Act.
When your safety team collaborate with our consultants each year, we will be able to customise procedures specific to your site and context. Finding details of how our experts can help you and your business can be found here.
What are the benefits of annual collaboration and training with a safety expert?
Arranging for WEM consultants to conduct annual training with your key staff, checking your emergency documentation, and ensuring the compliance of your evacuation diagrams is key. We can also observe an evacuation drill and give meaningful feedback which will lead to the safety of your staff and children should the real deal ever occur. This training and collaboration has a number of valuable beneficial outcomes for your service:
- Your team will boost their knowledge and skills so that they are more confident in their actions and can answer questions about your approach to safety and management of incidents.
- Emergency wardens will have an opportunity during our training sessions to ask questions and clarify procedures that are unique to your situation and facility.
- Can assist you in demonstrating a deep understanding of the centre’s approach to safety.
- Key staff can upskill others so that your approach to safety is understood by all.
- Your team members will be able to demonstrate a deep understanding of the requirements in managing emergencies and develop a commitment to high quality practices at all times.
To get in touch with our team and arrange an initial consultation to discuss how we can support your childcare facility, click here.