Respond

How early childhood education and care services and OSHC services can respond to emergencies and natural disasters, such as bushfires, floods and storms.

Service closures

  • If you intend to close your service, for example on days forecasted to have an elevated risk of emergencies, you should consider advising local emergency services of this intention.

  • Conditions or triggers that may require you to temporarily cease operations should be outlined in your emergency plans and procedures.

  • The department does not publish a list of service closures. However, you can find information about service closures on the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority's website here. If a service has suffered damage from a natural disaster or other emergency, and cannot operate (or has reduced capacity), families can contact the department for assistance with finding alternative care.

  • You can check whether schools in your area are closed here. If your service is located on a school site that will be temporarily closed, please consider closing your service.

Notifying the department

  • Services are required to notify the department of any closures, incidents, evacuations or damage to premises. While the regulations require this to be done within 24 hours the department understands that this may not always be practical or possible. Services can contact the department by phone or email if they do not have access to NQA ITS.

  • If you’d like to notify the department of further details about the same incident, click on your original notification to ‘edit’ it. Update the details and ‘save’. This could include adding additional documentation as attachments.
  • Please update your original notification if your service is closed on multiple days as a result of an emergency. Please also update the Re-open Date in your original notification to let us know when you’ve reopened.
  • Submit a new notification if you are notifying the department of a different incident

Monitoring fires, floods and emergency incidents

  • Services should monitor local conditions and follow the directions of emergency services. This includes family day care educators operating in affected areas. Up-to-date information about current fire emergencies can be found on the NSW Rural Fire Service website or the Fires Near Me app.

  • Monitor your local ABC Radio to stay up to date on bushfires and local emergencies near you.

  • Resilience NSW has collated a list of smart phone apps developed by emergency services to assist your service before and during an emergency.

Air quality and smoke

  • Thick smoke and ash can travel a significant distance from bushfires. It is important that services monitor children for smoke irritation. Symptoms can include:
    • Itchy/burning eyes
    • Runny nose
    • Shortness of breath/headaches
    • Irritated sinuses
    • Throat irritation
    • Coughing
  • The department encourages all services to access guidance on smoke irritation and maintaining health during bushfires provided by NSW Rural Fire Service and NSW Department of Health.

  • The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment provide current air quality ratings that you may wish to monitor and incorporate in your emergency planning.

  • Minimise the risk of asthma and respiratory problems by keeping children indoors. Ensure asthma action plans and medications are readily accessible and incorporated in your emergency management plans as necessary.

Families finding alternative education and care

  • If you have families seeking alternative care due to you reducing or temporarily ceasing operations, please contact the department for individual advice and support by:
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