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Building an emergency evacuation plan for a childcare centre

Oct 10, 2019

Childcare centres must take the utmost care when creating emergency evacuation plans.

Know your legal obligations Supporting children in coping with emergencies requires extremely detailed planning and careful implementation. Young children’s abilities need to be considered when it comes to following directions, thinking independently and mobilising to a safer location. Here’s our guide to help you create a safer emergency evacuation plan for a childcare setting:

 

Know your legal obligations

When creating any emergency plan, be sure to consider Australian and state-wide regulations and codes. In Australia, it’s the legal responsibility of the PCBU (Persons Conducting Business or Undertakings) to ensure that all people on the premises are carefully accounted for in an emergency. You can learn more about Australia’s building fire safety requirements here.

Clear priorities, policies and procedures

To maintain effectiveness, your childcare centre’s emergency policies and procedures should be carefully outlined, strictly enforced, regularly monitored and constantly reviewed. Your emergency plan must include clear instructions that nominated educators and supervising staff must follow in each kind of emergency. It must also include the locations of fire equipment, all evacuation and meeting points. Not only is it important to have a strong plan in place, evacuation diagrams must also be highly accessible – displayed in clear and visible positions.

Different scenarios, different plans

Emergency evacuation plans should never take a ‘one size fits all’ approach because emergencies naturally come with different kinds of risks and dangers. For example, while a fire might require immediate evacuation, a dangerous person on the premises might require the childcare centre to go into lockdown first. It’s crucial to establish a strategy for each scenario, with a list of priorities specific to each.

Train all staff, carers and educators

Training your staff on your procedures is crucial, and childcare staff must be extremely well-trained across several emergency skills. Firstly, they must know how to operate fire equipment. Secondly, it’s essential to ensure they are also trained in first aid that there are suitable first aid facilities. Thirdly, staff must also be aware of the specific policies and procedures of your childcare centre –  after all, there’s not much point in having a superb emergency evacuation plan if nobody knows how to use it.

Regular drills to test efficiency

Emergency drills are a great way to “drill” in the processes for staff and children, helping keep panic to a minimum, while ensuring any future true emergency evacuations are carried out in the most effective manner. The process of repetition is extremely effective for teaching children. For example, you can instruct them to walk, not run, to stay calm and to follow instructions, so that they’re less frightened in the case of true danger. Plus, drills also help you work out if any parts of your evacuation plan are ineffective so you can continue to improve processes even further.

Create evacuation diagrams

Once you have your strategy in place, you’ll need to get evacuation diagrams made. In accordance with Australian Safety Standards, your diagrams must display:

  • The Floor Plan and Site Plan of the facility, its Assembly Point and its Emergency Procedures
  • The nearest exit from the marked “You are here” point
  • The location of the nearest fire equipment

Further resources

Not sure how to build an evacuation plan for your childcare centre? Fire Block Plans is here to help you and your team. Our highly-qualified experts will help find a suitable emergency evacuation plan, no matter how unique your requirements may be. Contact us today for more information.