Resource 4 - Emergency and evacuation procedure rehearsals

You're required to rehearse your service’s emergency and evacuation response procedures every three months*. In addition, Regulation 97(3)(b) (of the Education and Care Services National Regulations) requires that the rehearsals of the emergency and evacuation procedures are documented.

This resource provides two forms you can use to plan, execute, evaluate, debrief and document emergency and evacuation procedure rehearsals:

1. Emergency Response Exercise Observer Checklist

It is recommended that you nominate someone, for example a staff member, parent or relevant authority that you have consulted with, to observe your rehearsal. The person nominated to observe the rehearsal could use this checklist as a guide to document and gauge the effectiveness of the exercise.

2. Emergency Response Exercise Debrief and Report Template

This template can be used to debrief staff or others that participated in your service’s rehearsal. Actions documented from this debrief can include changes needed to your emergency and evacuation procedures that became apparent through the exercise rehearsal.

These forms are generic and, if used, should be customised to the specific exercise and the needs of your service.

If possible, it is recommended that the person you choose to observe and lead the exercise debrief not take a direct part in the rehearsal itself. This allows the observer to objectively assess the response. You may wish to consult with the wider community and relevant authorities** to seek observers for each exercise.

Taking the time to debrief each exercise is important. This formal process offers an opportunity to critically evaluate the performance of the participants and the effectiveness of emergency response procedures tested by the emergency response exercise. Debriefing is a form of critical reflection*** that allows your service to systematically and regularly reflect on emergency procedures and practices, and make any necessary changes when identified to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of children.

Disclaimer: this resource is for reference and should only be used as an aid to develop and supplement your education and care service’s Emergency and Evacuation Procedures. It is the responsibility of the Approved Provider of an education and care service to ensure that their emergency and evacuation procudures are rehearsed every 3 months.

Why we need them

The hurried activity and loud noises of an emergency procedure or evacuation can upset a child, particularly one that is unaware of what is happening. Regularly rehearsing your service’s emergency and evacuation rehearsals is important in ensuring children and staff know what to do in the event of an emergency and can assist you in informing children as to what they should expect in the event of an emergency without scaring them or undermining its importance. Equally important is debriefing and reporting on each exercise so your service can critically reflect on what went well and what might be done differently for future rehearsals.

When undertaking rehearsals of your emergency and evacuation procedures, you may wish to consider information in the Australian Standard AS3745:2010 Planning for emergencies in facilities (AS3745), which is widely accepted throughout the emergency planning industry as the benchmark when it comes to implementing emergency procedures and training within an organisation. This information can be found in Section 6 Training, Section 7 Emergency Response Exercises and Section 8 Review and routine servicing. The department does not require you to purchase a copy of AS3745 to meet emergency and incident requirements under the National Quality Framework (NQF).

There are differing terms in Regulation 97 and AS3745 that describe the same thing. To help assist you in researching and consulting with relevant authorities on your service’s emergency and evacuation procedures, we have listed the comparative terms below:

Regulation 97 term AS3745 term
'Rehearsal' 'Emergency response exercise'
'Emergency and evacuation procedures' 'Emergency response procedures'

Footnotes

* Reference: Centre based services – Regulation 97(3)(a) and Family Day Care services – Regulation 97(3)(a),(b)

** Refer to Resource 1 - ECE - Emergency Planning Resources - Consulting Relevant Authorities for more information and contact details of relevant authorities.

*** Please refer to Exceeding theme 2: Practice is informed by critical reflection – Exceeding Guidance for Standard 2.2 – Guide to the National Quality Framework, Page 172-174 for more information.

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