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School Procedures for the Bushfire Season
Fire danger ratings and warnings are used in Victoria to provide clear direction on the safest options for preserving life.
Schools and children’s services listed on the DET Bushfire At-Risk Register (BARR) and those at risk of grassfire (Category 4) will be closed when a Catastrophic fire danger rating day is determined in their Bureau of Meteorology district. Our school has been identified as being one of those at high bushfire or grassfire risk.
Where possible, we will provide parents with up to four days notice of a potential Code Red day closure by letter and SMS message. A Catastrophic day will be determined by the Emergency Management Commissioner no later than 1.00 pm the day before the potential closure. Once we are advised of the confirmation of the Code Red day we will provide you with advice before the end of the school day.
Once confirmed, the decision to close will not change, regardless of improvements in the weather forecast. This is to avoid confusion and help your family plan alternative care arrangements for your child. It is also important to note that:
No staff will be on site on days where the school is closed due to a forecast Catastrophic day.
Out-of-school-hours care will also be cancelled on these days
School camps will be cancelled if a Catastrophic fire danger rating day is determined for the Bureau of Meteorology district in which the camp is located.
All bus routes that travel through the Catastrophic area will be cancelled.
Depending on which Bureau of Meteorology district is impacted bus route cancellations may affect our school.
On these Catastrophic days families are encouraged to enact their Bushfire Survival Plan – on such days children should never be left at home alone or in the care of older children.
For those of us living in a bushfire prone area, the Country Fire Authority (CFA) advises that when Catastrophic days are forecast, the safest option is to leave the night before or early on the morning of the Catastrophic day.
As part of preparing our school for potential hazards such as fire, we have updated and completed our Emergency Management Plan.
What can parents do?
Make sure your family’s bushfire survival plan is up-to-date and includes alternative care arrangements in the event that our school is closed.
Ensure we have your current contact details, including your mobile phone numbers. Keep in touch with us by reading our newsletters, by checking our website [http://marlops.vic.edu.au] and by talking to your child’s teacher or any other member of the teaching staff about our emergency management plan.
Most importantly at this time of year, if you’re planning a holiday or short stay in the bush or in a coastal area, you should check warnings in advance of travel and remain vigilant during your stay.
If your child is old enough, talk to them about bushfires and your family’s bushfire survival plan.
You can access more information about children’s services closures on the Department of Education and Training website – see http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/health/pages/closures.aspx
Multiple sources that offer information on emergencies are listed below:
VicEmergency app – that can be downloaded on your android and iOS mobile devices
VicEmergency Hotline (1800 226 226)
ABC local radio, Sky News and other emergency broadcasters