Emergency Planning video modules

A series of videos and resources on emergency planning and preparedness for early childhood education and care services and OSHC services.

We encourage you to watch the videos in order. Each module features a guided conversation with practical suggestions for your service’s emergency management practices. Below each module you'll find links to guidance, resources and templates mentioned in the video.

Module 1 – Risk Assessments

This module discusses developing and maintaining risk assessments that identify and address hazards relevant to your service. This module also explains the ION (inside, outside and neighbours) model, which is a simple to understand way of looking at what hazards you may consider including in your emergency risk assessment.

The ION model involves thinking about:

  • Inside hazards such as internal fires caused in the kitchen area
  • Outside hazards such as dangerous animals and unauthorised intruders
  • Neighbour hazards such as construction sites or if you are in bushfire/flood prone area
Module 1 - Risk Assessments

Abi

This is module one of six modules discussing emergency management in early childhood education and care services and OSHC services. We encourage you to watch each module in order. The module is less than 10 minutes in duration. You may wish to consider using the modules as the basis for meetings with your staff. The modules are intended as guidance that may assist you develop or enhance your service emergency management plans, procedures and capabilities. There is a series of resources available on our website to assist you. The information contained in this module and the online resources are intended as a supplement to your own experiences, knowledge and research you have obtained and used to create an environment that is as reasonably practicably safe for your staff, the children under your care, and the people who may be in the service at the time of an emergency. Once you've viewed the module, we encourage you to discuss it with your team, and then undertake the recommended tasks and recall all actions you've completed in your quality improvement plan or self assessment documentation to demonstrate key practices of continuous improvement. Hello, and welcome everyone. My name is Abi Weldon-Chan, and I'm the Director of Regulatory Strategy, Policy and Practice in the Quality Assurance and Regulatory Services Directorate of the New South Wales Department of Education. The department has been working closely with an external party to assist us build the resources we have made available to you on our website. The expert we have with us for our series of six modules is Craig Moroz from Tigertail, Australia. Craig is an expert in emergency preparedness and management. Craig, would you mind telling us briefly about your experience?

Craig

Thank you for the kind introduction, Abby. My career is long and varied. I've been involved directly in planning for emergencies in buildings and facilities since 2007. I've seen first hand, the contribution risk assessments, sound procedures, collaboration with others, effective training and realistic rehearsals make enabling building occupants respond effectively in an emergency.

Abi

Thanks, Craig. I wanted to pick up on something you just said. When talking about building an effective emergency management capability, you mentioned risk assessments first. In this module, I'd like to explore some reasonably practicable actions services can take to perform their risk assessment. There is a regulatory requirement for every service to conduct a risk assessment to identify possible emergencies that they may face. What tips can you offer?

Craig

Abi, it is possible to over complicate risk management and risk assessment. To avoid becoming overwhelmed by the task, remember to take your time and involve others in the process. Let's consider something that's reasonably practicable. When I look to assist someone perform an emergency management related risk assessment, a favorite approach is to ask, what could happen inside? What could happen outside? What could happen in the neighborhood? Of course, inside, outside, neighborhood makes a great acronym, ION. Imagine three concentric rings with inside in the center. The majority of activity happens inside the service, so it makes sense to start there and work your way out. I find that I have a better chance of understanding the building by talking to people who work in the building. They are likely to have the best knowledge of what happens and the history of the building, it's immediate surrounds and the neighborhood. Inside, outside, neighborhood, ION. Let's add another lens to that. There's an Australian standard called AS:3745-2010, Planning for Emergencies in Facilities. That standard is just categorizing hazards into, human, technological and natural. I prefer the terms people, assets, environment. People may include aggression or violence, bomb threats and intruders. Assets may include structure collapse, transportation failures, utility, meaning water, power or gas failures, structural fires. Environment may include, chemical spills, severe weather like storms, floods, animals, bush fires, falling tree branches, burst water mains on the road leading to the service. So for each of the elements of ION, ask how people, assets and environment might create an emergency.

Abi

Can you give us some examples, please, Craig?

Craig

Sure, Abi. Some examples, inside. Aggressive and or violent person inside at the start of or the end of the day, children exhibiting challenging behaviors that may affect the safety of themselves or others, a medical emergency for staff, child or a family member, chemicals spills in a laundry, fire in a kitchen, burst water pipe or worse, sewerage pipe, a venomous spider in an office.

Outside might include an intruder in an outside play area, a tree branch falling onto play equipment, severe weather, heavy rain, cyclone, hail outside making play unsafe, a vehicle accident in the car park.

Neighborhood; Public safety emergency nearby such as a police operation, a bush fire in the area, flooding in the area. A neighboring building fire or collapse.

Abi

Remembering that risk assessments are an outcome of consultation to consider the service context and its location, should the list of hazards be challenged to identify what's relevant and what should be included and what may be excluded?

Craig

Let me give you some simple examples where one service may include a hazard and exclude another. A service in Cobar might include flooding. By understanding their area, they may have a good argument to discard tsunami from the risk assessment. Similarly, the service located in the bush community of Tabulam should consider bush fire. A service in Sydney CBD could justify why a bushfire would not create an emergency for them. Both services should consider fire inside their structure. In the Sydney CBD or a large regional city, a service that is neighboring, for example, a law court, may wish to consider bomb threat as a potential emergency. All service's deal with people, adults and children, and it is quite plausible that a person or people may exhibit behaviors perceived as threatening, and might include aggression and potentially violence. This is something that would be relevant in every risk assessment.

Abi

And what's the best way for services to go about doing this?

Craig

The process of documenting the risk assessment is relatively simple, and may involve just one person. The consultation necessary to perform the risk assessment however, should involve more than one person. Remember that you need to talk to different people to obtain different perspectives. If you do the risk assessment by yourself, you'll introduce bias. By involving others, you obtain different views, and this builds and strengthens the risk assessment process. Now is a good time to say that all of the discussions and consultation should be packaged together in a document, which is the risk assessment.

Abi

We would recommend that a copy of the refreshed risk assessment is placed in the services Quality Improvement Plan or Self-Assessment documentation, so that it's handy during visits by authorised officers and during assessment and rating. One of our online resources consulting relevant authorities, communication and notifications has a section on the Emergency Planning Committee, would you recommend the use of such a committee, Craig?

Craig

That's a great idea, Abi. Of course, this depends on the size of the service. What may be useful is for emergency management activities to be undertaken as part of the services broader approach to work health and safety. By doing so, you can consider the hazards, its causes and control to reduce or eliminate its likelihood and ideally consequence. What might be possible is for service to have such a committee, which involves the approved provider, nominated supervisor, educators and families. What we need to also remember is that risk assessment should be refreshed on at least an annual basis. Things change, people change. In a service, children and families change every year. Once the hard work is done to build the initial risk assessment, an annual refresh is recommended as a better practice.

Abi

Craig, you just mentioned children. Might children be included in undertaking the risk assessment?

Craig

Great question, Abi. We know that children can be amazingly perceptive. While I would suggest taking care on how the topic of emergencies is introduced. Remember, that children will participate in rehearsals, and although I hope not, responses to real emergencies. Perhaps involving them throughout the process provides opportunities to build important capabilities early.

Abi

In this module, we've discussed risk assessments. This specifically relates to regulation 97 of the National Regulations. So we recommend that you refresh your existing risk assessment, and consider using the ION model. Consult with your team to consider what may occur inside and outside your service's facilities, and in your neighborhood. Consider with whom you will consult. Use this module as the basis of a staff meeting with your staff, as you consider how to continually improve. Keep evidence of activities you've undertaken as a result of this module in your Quality Improvement Plan, or as a key practice identified in your Self-Assessment process. Should you have specific questions, please contact the department's information and inquiries line on 1-800-619-113, or by email at eced@det.nsw.edu.au. Thank you for watching this module.

Module 2 – Developing the Emergency Plan and Procedures

This module introduces what emergency plans and procedures are, why they are important, what you should include and the requirements of the Education and Care Services National Regulations (National Regulations).

Module 2 – Developing the Emergency Plan and Procedures

ABI

This is Module 2 of 6 Modules, discussing Emergency Management in Early Childhood Education and Care Services and OSHC services. We encourage you to watch each module in order. The module is less than 10 minutes in duration. You may wish to consider using the modules as the basis of meetings with your staff. The modules are intended as guidance that may assist to develop or enhance your service's Emergency Management plans, procedures, and capabilities. There is a series of resources available on our website to assist you. The information contained in this module and the online resources are intended as a supplement to your own experiences, knowledge and research you have obtained and used to create an environment that is as safe as reasonably practicable for your staff, the children under your care, and the people who may be in the service at the time of an emergency. Once you have viewed the module, we encourage you to discuss it with your team and then undertake the recommended tasks, and place records of all actions you have completed in your Quality Improvement Plan or Self-Assessment documentation to demonstrate key practices of continuous improvement. In this module, we consider emergency and evacuation procedures. These are the instructions for what must be done in the event of an emergency and form part of your service's operating procedures. In the previous module, we considered how to undertake a risk assessment to identify possible emergencies relevant to your service. The risk assessment is necessary to inform the Emergency and Evacuation procedures. Now in the first module, we introduced ourselves more fully. My name is Abi Weldon-Chan and I'm the Director of Regulatory Strategy, Policy and Practice in the Quality Assurance and Regulatory Services Directorate of the NSW Department of Education. Supporting me is Emergency Management expert, Craig Moroz, who is a consultant with Tigertail Australia. Hi Craig.

CRAIG

 Hi Abi.

ABI

Craig, how might you use a risk assessment as the basis for emergency and evacuation procedures? Let's take stock and remove the words Emergency and Evacuation for a moment. The service is developing procedures. The method for creating a procedure should be well known for each service. From my interactions with services, I've noted that they have procedures for cleaning, for meal preparation, for administering medication, for billing families, for excursions and so on. I would expect that every service has experience in writing specific procedures. Now, consider emergency and evacuation procedures. The risk assessment tells us What? By that, I mean the emergency situation that may occur. The next logical question is, So What? That helps you consider the urgency. The question that then follows is, Now What? In the risk assessment you will have identified tens, hopefully not hundreds of possible emergencies. For each what? Ask the questions. So what? And now what?

ABI

Craig, do you have any examples of these possible emergencies?

CRAIG

Certainly Abi. Okay. What? Burst waterpipe and the service is flooding. So what? It's unsafe to remain inside. Now what? We're going to evacuate. Another example. What? Severe storm. Large hail falling outside. So what? Being outside is unsafe. Now what? Move inside. Stay inside. What? There's a vehicle accident outside. So what? Outside may be unsafe. Now what? Stay inside. While there can be many different emergencies, there are only a few responses. I summarise these as: Outside is unsafe. Stay Inside. Inside is unsafe. Get out. Evacuate.

ABI

That sounds almost too simple, Craig.

CRAIG

So there is a reason for the simplicity. The required immediate action is easy to remember. Think about driving a car. A red traffic light means stop. As the driver, you automatically commence the procedures to safely bring the vehicle to a stop. In emergencies, we want the immediate response to be simple to remember. What is next is describing the process of a shelter in place, or of an evacuation. So start with the end in mind. The primary objective is to ensure that everyone is moved away from the emergency to a place of lesser risk. Once you've done that, you want to make sure that everyone, children, educators, staff, family members, gets home safely. Now that you know that you have an emergency, the immediate action you will perform, and you know what you want to achieve. What you will need to do now is describe in order, the specific tasks that you will complete.

ABI

Craig, do you have any examples of how services can go about doing this?

CRAIG

Sure, Abi. Say there is a fire in the service and you must evacuate. Your primary objective is to get to the evacuation assembly area. Confirm everyone is safe and call families to tell them what has happened, and ask them to collect their child. So. What will each of your staff do? What is their role in the evacuation? How did everyone get out of the building? How will you manage infants? And children with no shoes awoken from their nap by the emergency? What must you take and what must be left behind? Where is the evacuation assembly area? How did you ensure everyone reaches the EVAC assembly area safely? What tools and equipment did you take with you? How do you summon Emergency Services? How will you communicate with families? What do you want them to do? Going back to our earlier method of: What? So what? Now what? I would suggest that when you develop the detailed instructions for what must be done in response to an emergency, you will ask the now what question followed by: How? Who? And when quite a lot. As an example: What? Intruder in the foyer. So what? The foyer is unsafe. Now what? Stay inside. Now what? Lock the doors. Okay. Who's going to do that? How will they do it? And when? Now what? Call the police. How? Who? When? Now what? Gather the children together. How? Who? When? By now, you should be in a rhythm. If you flip that around, from a shelter in place or a lockdown response, you can use the same structured approach with the change to the objective. Inside is a place of relative safety. So how will you prevent the threat from coming inside? For severe weather, the procedure might be basic. You'll bring children inside and keep them away from doors and windows. Consider what you will tell families if the hail storm is happening at the end of the day at pick-up time. For an aggressive person, the procedure may be more detailed than the act of sheltering in place, because you will also be locking down the building. This means that the aggressive person should be locked out. So will family members. What will you tell them? How? Who? When? I'd recommend that at a minimum, services should document Response procedures for Evacuation and Lockdown. I suggest that the procedures be built to cater to the more complex times, such as the morning drop-off or afternoon pick-up. The procedures should be detailed and documented.

ABI

When we discussed risk assessments, we discussed the value of more than one person being involved. Who should be involved in creating the Emergency and Evacuation procedures, Craig?

CRAIG

So children might also be consulted as they will be involved in any response to an emergency. I'll talk about an example of how a service used that consultation with children in developing their procedures and testing them in emergency rehearsals in a later module. As services develop their procedures, they may find that concepts such as partial evacuation and evacuating into another part of the building are possible. Consultation with those who will use or be affected by the procedures gives better opportunity for quality procedures.

ABI

Thanks, Craig. There's a lot of details. Is there a way for service's to simplify this?

CRAIG

Great question, Abi. For the induction of staff into the service, they should be shown all the procedures applicable at the service. This includes: Emergency and Evacuation procedures. We'll talk about rehearsals in another module. So I won't do so right now. The service should train their staff on all their procedures. To help people focus and remember what needs to be done, a service might consider a memory jogger or an aide-memoire. If we consider first aid, the acronym DRSABCD is a reminder of the more detailed procedures. The same can be done for other emergencies.

ABI

Thanks, Craig. We have a resource on our website called the Incident Response Plan. Is this what you mean?

CRAIG

 Exactly, Abi. The sample Incident Response Plan is a succinct plan on a page and might be a tool developed from more detailed procedures. It uses the method we discussed earlier of: What? So what? Now what? This is the sort of memory jogger that might be placed next to the Emergency and Evacuation floorplan we'll discuss in a later module.

ABI

Thank you, Craig. In this module, we've discussed Emergency and Evacuation procedures. This specifically relates to regulation 97 and the National Quality Standard. We recommend that you revisit your detailed Emergency and Evacuation procedures, confirming that they align to what you've identified in your risk assessment. Consider the Incident Response Plan resource that's on the Department's website. Use this module as the basis of a meeting with your staff, as you consider how to continually improve. Keep evidence of activities you've taken as a result of this module in your Quality Improvement Plan, or as a key practice identified in your Self-Assessment process. Should you have specific questions, please contact the Department's information and enquiries line on 1800-619-113 or via email at ECED@det.nsw.edu.au. Thank you for watching this module.

Module 3 – Developing and Displaying Emergency Evacuation Floor Plans (Evacuation Diagrams)

This module examines the requirements for displaying your evacuation floor plans and procedures under Regulation 97(4) of the National Regulations. The module also explains how to ensure your Evacuation Diagram is effective and displays the correct information to ensure children and staff can evacuate safely in the event of an emergency.

Module 3 – Developing and Displaying Emergency Evacuation Floor Plans (Evacuation Diagrams)

ABI

This is Module 3 of 6 modules discussing Emergency Management in Early Childhood Education and Care Services, and OSHC services. We encourage you to watch each module in order. The module is less than 10 minutes in duration. You may wish to consider using the modules as the basis for meetings with your staff. The modules are intended as guidance that may assist you to develop or enhance your service's Emergency Management plans, procedures and capabilites. There is a series of resources available on our website to assist you. The information contained in this module and the online resources are intended as a supplement to your own experiences, knowledge and research you've obtained and used to create an environment that is as safe as reasonably practicable for your staff, the children under your care, and the people who may be in the service at the time of an emergency. Once you have viewed the module, we encourage you to discuss it with your team and then undertake the recommended tasks and record all actions you have completed in your Quality Improvement Plan or Self-Assessment form, to demonstrate key practices of continuous improvement. In modules one and two, we considered Risk Assessments and the creation of Emergency and Evacuation procedures. In this module, we will consider Emergency and Evacuation Floor plans. Now this plan is a requirement of Regulation 97 of the National Regulations. In the first module, we introduced ourselves more fully. My name is Abi Weldon-Chan, and I'm the Director of Regulatory, Strategy, Policy and Practice in the Quality Assurance and Regulatory Services Directorate of the NSW Department of Education. Supporting me, is Emergency Management Expert, Craig Moroz, who is a consultant with Tigertail Australia. Craig, what can you tell us about Emergency and Evacuation floor plans?

CRAIG

Firstly Abi, allow me to offer an explanation. Regulation 97 uses the term Evacuation and Emergency Floor plan. The Australian Standard AS:3745 considers planning for emergencies in facilities and refers to an Evacuation Diagram. While the terminology is different, they mean the same thing. A diagram used to illustrate the route a person will take from where they are in a building to the emergency exit and into the Evacuation Assembly Area. To avoid confusion between Emergency and Evacuation procedures and any Emergency Management plans, I will refer to what Regulation 97 calls the Evacuation and Emergency floor plan as an Evacuation Diagram.

ABI

Thanks for clarifying that, Craig. Do these diagrams have minimum requirements?

CRAIG

There's two parts to that, Abi. The Australian Standard provides for minimum and optional requirements for Evacuation Diagrams. Now on the department's website, we have a resource called Emergency and Evacuation Floor Plans. That resource has an Evacuation Diagram checklist. Indeed, Abi. The checklist that's in that resource is aligned to the Australian Standard, and useful for any service to check their Evacuation Diagrams. The second answer is a more practical one. The Evacuation Diagram is designed for a person unfamiliar with the site to successfully navigate their way to an Emergency Exit and onto the Evacuation Assembly area. A way for a service to check that their diagram is effective, might be to hand it to a new staff member or a child's family member unfamiliar with the site. And then ask them to use that diagram to exit the building and then make their way to the Evacuation Assembly area. If the person cannot reach the Evacuation Assembly area, it's probable that the Evacuation Diagram requires some improvement. In my experience, I've seen diagrams drawn on a template, downloaded from the Fire and Rescue NSW website, which was accurate and effective. In later modules, we will discuss rehearsals. When we get to that module I'll remind you that validating the effectiveness of the Evacuation Diagram should be assessed in a rehearsal.

ABI

When we were discussing Emergency and Evacuation procedures, we talked about the Incident Response Plan. As I understand it, an Incident Response Plan and the Evacuation Diagram, are complementary.

CRAIG

Your understanding is correct, Abi. A service might choose to place their Incident Response Plan next to their Evacuation Diagram. I would encourage this practice, as it aligns to what we discussed in the previous module - What? So what? Now what? If there is an emergency and the service's staff move immediately to the spot where they have that information posted, they can work through recognising the emergency, deciding what to do next, where to go and how to get there.

ABI

Thanks, Craig. So should a service put the location of their shelter-in-place on that diagram?

CRAIG

Abi, that's really a decision for the service. While it may be useful on Evacuation Diagrams placed inside the service and in Staff-Only areas, for safety reasons, I would be reluctant to place that location on an Evacuation Diagram placed in a public or a common area.

ABI

In terms of placement, the Department has provided guidance that Evacuation Diagrams should be placed next to all designated Emergency Exits, in the service's premises, which are on the route to the Evacuation Assembly area. Now how does that compare to the Australian Standard, Craig?

CRAIG

That's an interesting question, Abi. The Australian Standard guides Emergency Planning Committees to make decisions on a facility's Emergency Management arrangements and practices. This includes the placement of Evacuation Diagrams. The practice that I've seen employed in many buildings is that the Evacuation Diagrams are placed near the Emergency Exit on each floor. And people are guided to the Emergency Exit by the illuminated green Running Persons signs. The guidance that the Department has offered services appears to align to the Australian Standard. I would encourage any service operating in commercial buildings to engage with their Building Manager to; A - Participate in the building's Emergency Planning Committee; and B - Discuss how Evacuation Diagrams will be updated and placed within the building.

ABI

In this module, we've discussed Emergency and Evacuation Floor plans. This specifically relates to Regulation 97 , the obligation for every service to have an Emergency and Evacuation Floor plan. We recommend that you use the Evacuation Diagram Checklist to review and if required, update your diagrams. Use an independent person to test that the diagram correctly describes the evacuation route. Use this module as a basis of a meeting with your staff as you consider how to continually improve. Keep evidence of activities you've taken as a result of this module in your Quality Improvement Plan, or as a key practice identified in your Self-Asessment process. Should you have specific questions, please contact the Department's information and enquiries line on 1800-619-113 94 or via email at ECED@det.nsw.edu.au. Thank you for watching this module.

Module 4 – Consulting with Relevant Authorities

This module identifies who relevant authorities are, the roles and responsibilities of emergency services, avenues on how to consult with them and how to document this consultation effectively. This module also explains the importance of involving neighbouring residents, agencies and businesses in your consultation.

Module 4 – Consulting with Relevant Authorities

ABI

This is Module 4 of 6 modules discussing emergency management in early childhood education and care services and OSHC services. We encourage you to watch each module in order. The module is less than 10 minutes in duration. You may wish to consider using the modules as the basis for meetings with your staff. The modules are intended as guidance that may assist you develop or enhance your service's emergency management plans, procedures, and capabilities. There is a series of resources available on our website to assist you. The information contained in this module and the online resources are intended as a supplement to your own experiences, knowledge, and research you have obtained and used to create an environment that is as safe as reasonably practicable for your staff, the children under your care and the people who may be in the service at the time of an emergency. Once you have viewed the module we encourage you to discuss it with your team and then undertake the recommended tasks and record all actions you have completed in your Quality Improvement Plan or Self-Assessment form to demonstrate key practices of continuous improvement. In the previous three modules we considered the risk assessment, the creation of emergency and evacuation procedures, and the emergency and evacuation floor plan. In this module we discussed consultation with relevant authorities. Such consultation is described in Element 2.2.2 of Quality Area 2 Children's health and safety within the National Quality Standard and the Supplementary Provisions Act for mobile services and occasional care services. In the first module we introduced ourselves more fully. My name is Abi Weldon-Chan and I am the Director of Regulatory Strategy Policy and Practice in the Quality Assurance and Regulatory Services Directorate of the NSW Department of Education. Supporting me is emergency management expert Craig Moroz who is a consultant with Tigertail Australia. Hi Craig.

CRAIG

Hi Abi.

ABI

The requirement to consult with relevant authorities is a much discussed topic between the Department and services. The National Quality Standard is specific in stating that plans to effectively manage incidents and emergencies are to be developed in consultation with relevant authorities, practised and implemented. Early childhood education and care services and OSHC services are approved to educate and care for children below school age and then up to the age of twelve respectively. These members of our community are especially vulnerable. As the regulatory authority, we encourage every service to take every reasonably practicable step to ensure the safety of those vulnerable people.

CRAIG

Abi I can understand why such a requirement would exist. Let's consider the word 'consultation' in the context of safety. Every service is a business and subject to the Work Health and Safety Act NSW 2011 and attendant Regulations, in addition to the National Quality Framework. A specific duty described within work health and safety legislation is consultation. In the first three months of this series, we discussed the need consult, to involve others in the risk assessment, developing the procedures and validating the effectiveness of the floor plan. There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child. In the context of emergency management arrangements I believe that to be apt.

ABI

Let's consider relevant authorities. We have provided a resource on our website called Consulting Relevant Authorities, Communication and Notifications. We have described why consultation is required and provided a list of links to relevant authorities.

CRAIG

Indeed Abi. What I like about that resource is that it talks about what is reasonably practicable. Consider the emergency services. Their mission is about public safety. They are the organisations who respond to emergencies. Each emergency service and their members are passionate about safety. In a perfect world, a service would be able to arrange for representatives from every relevant authority to attend a single meeting to discuss the service's emergency and evacuation planning and supporting procedures. The real world is different.

ABI

So in the real world Craig, what might a service consider doing?

CRAIG

Abi let's start with what doesn't work. What doesn't work is asking a relevant authority to approve a plan. That's not their role. A better conversation is asking a relevant authority to offer suggestions on how plans might be improved. Some relevant authorities may be able to attend and observe rehearsals. What the service may consider doing is: Accessing the resource called Relevant Authorities: resources and assistance to understand what each relevant authority does. Use the risk assessment to identify which service may respond to the different emergencies. Make some enquiries to understand what services are available in the location and make a plan to contact each of the relevant authorities. Define the reason you want to talk to each relevant authority, Make those calls and document the outcome of the calls and any other interactions you have with the relevant authority. Where you haven't been able to contact them, note what resources you reviewed on the relevant authorities website and any changes you've made as a result. Be persistent - it can take multiple attempts to make contact. Place copies of notes in your Quality Improvement Plan or as a key practice identified in your self-assessment process.

ABI

Thanks Craig. The way the Department approaches compliance is to understand what reasonably practicable steps the service has taken to engage with the relevant authorities. Now out of interest Craig, do you have any examples of consultation?

CRAIG

Abi there's three examples that spring immediately to mind. When we help the Department prepare for the Emergency Planning Workshops, we heard from a service - a pre-school- in north -western NSW. They had experienced six bushfires in a single year. The town is in a valley and right next to a river that can flood. I made reference earlier and said that it needs a village to raise a child. In this town, the entire community has been involved in emergency planning. This involved families, the service, the primary school, local council, and emergency services. As a result of the community-level planning, the service amended its emergency and evacuation plans to align with the nearby primary school. Of course the service still has procedures for emergencies that only affect the service. The second example relates to a previous role that I had. I was responsible for emergency planning for a large corporate site and had arranged for Fire and Rescue NSW to attend my building to conduct a pre-incident inspection. As a good neighbour I facilitated an introduction between Fire and Rescue NSW and the service's Nominated Supervisor. The Station Officer offered to attend the service to review their next rehearsal and quickly review their evacuation diagrams. I also included the service in the emergency management activities for my building. The message here: work with your neighbours as they may be able to help you leverage their relationships with relevant authorities. The third example is of a service with 100 children located on the 14th floor of a high rise building. In addition to 14 flights of fire stairs, the service's evacuation assembly area was some 700 metres distance and required the crossing of four major roads. This service consulted with the Building Manager who, also was the Chief Warden, engaged Fire and Rescue NSW. Collectively, they developed a plan to keep the children safe and only travel to the evacuation assembly area in the very worst case scenario.

ABI

Thank you Craig. In addition to the relevant authorities, you make a good point about consultation with neighbours. While neighbours are not relevant authorities, they may be able to help you in your consultations. An important point to note for services who operate within the boundaries of a NSW Department of Education school is that they should make sure to engage the school principal to ensure that the plans and procedures of both the school and the service are integrated. And if necessary, the Department can assist with that consultation. So Craig, can families contribute to this consultation?

CRAIG

Abi I would encourage services to understand what each family member does for a living. It is quite possible that family members may be current members of Police, Fire Ambulance, potentially volunteers with SES or RFS. If not, they may have friends or relatives who are. I encourage services to collaborate with families, to gain those introductions to relevant authorities. The family member may be able to better frame the request for consultation with the relevant authority.

ABI

In this module we have discussed consulting with relevant authorities. This specifically relates to Element 2.2.2 in the National Quality Standard and assists you to meet the requirements of Regulation 97 and 168 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations. We recommend that you: Access the relevant authorities resource on our website. Consider making a plan to contact relevant authorities applicable to your risk assessment and your emergency and evacuation procedures. Use this module as the basis of a meeting with your staff as you consider how to continually improve. Keep evidence of activities you have taken as the result of this module in your Quality Improvement Plan or as a key practice identified in your self-assessment process. Should you have specific questions, please contact the Department's information and Enquiries line on 1800-619-113 or by email at ECED@det.nsw.edu.au Thank you for watching this module.

Module 5 – Communicating your Emergency Management Plans and Emergency Response Comms

This module discusses how to effectively communicate your emergency response plan to staff, children, families, emergency services and visitors. This module stresses the importance of having an effective communication plan in place, as well as appropriate induction and training for staff so everyone in your service knows their role and responsibilities in the event of an emergency.

Module 5 – Communicating your Emergency Management Plans and Emergency Response Comms

ABI

This is Module 5 of 6 modules discussing emergency management in early childhood education and care services and OSHC services. We encourage you to watch each module in order. The module is less than 10 minutes in duration. You may wish to consider using the modules as the basis for meetings with your staff. The modules are intended as guidance that may assist you develop or enhance your service's emergency management plans, procedures, and capabilities. There is a series of resources available on our website to assist you. The information contained in this module and the online resources are intended as a supplement to your own experiences, knowledge and research you've obtained and used to create an environment that is as safe as reasonably practicable for your staff, the children under your care and the people who may be in the service at the time of an emergency. Once you have viewed the module, we encourage you to discuss it with your team and then undertake the recommended tasks and record all actions you've completed in your Quality Improvement Plan or Self-Assessment form to demonstrate key practices of continuous improvement. In the previous modules we have discussed how you may go about your risk assessment, creating or enhancing your emergency and evacuation procedures, validating your emergency and evacuation floor plan and consulting with relevant authorities. In this module we will discuss how to communicate to people about your plan and offer practical suggestions of how to communicate in an emergency. In the first module we introduce ourselves more fully. My name is Abi Weldon-Chan and I am the Director of Regulatory Strategy, Policy and Practice in the Quality Assurance and Regulatory Services Directorate in the NSW Department of Education. Supporting me is emergency management expert Craig Moroz who is a consultant with Tigertail Australia. Hi Craig.

CRAIG

Hi Abi.

ABI

Craig in the previous modules we've outlined the work services should do to prepare appropriately for emergencies. What else should a service consider?

CRAIG

Abi the previous modules were about planning and preparation. I would suggest that there should be documentation to support what has been achieved. Now it's time to ensure that the detail is provided to all staff, children, and families. In the creation of any procedure the writer will consult with stakeholders and there will be various versions until the final version is agreed. So it is with the emergency and evacuation procedures and supporting tools and diagrams. For every procedure applicable at a specific service there are three questions: How do we monitor and ensure that educators and staff know of the procedure, and perform it to the required standard? How do families know of the procedure, how it is performed, how they contribute to meeting the minimum standards? How do children become aware of the procedure and how they contribute to the correct performance of that standard in an age appropriate manner? Staff, children and families should be familiar with every procedure. And it is the same for emergency and evacuation procedures.

ABI

 Inducting educators and staff is expected. After all, these are the people who will implement the procedures when responding to an emergency. They should have clarity about what role they will be performing in responding to an emergency. Why is it important Craig to familiarise families with procedures?

CRAIG

Abi families play an important role. When there is an emergency, a family's instinctive reaction is to protect their child. If a family is unaware of the emergency and evacuation procedures, it is plausible that upon learning of the emergency, families might attempt to intervene. Whether this is in person or on the telephone is equally distracting for the service as it tries to manage the emergency. As the community example we discussed in the previous module highlighted, if the entire community is aware of how the service will respond to an emergency threatening the community, that community, including families, has comfort that there is a plan to protect their children. I would suggest that services consider including discussions about emergency management during pre-enrolment discussions with families. Perhaps the service may consider adding emergency management in its service agreement with families.

ABI

In an emergency it is important that a family member understands what is expected of them. And also children in an age appropriate manner?

CRAIG

Children also need to know how they are required to respond in an emergency, Instructing them during a rehearsal is a start. However, better outcomes may arise from deliberate discussion. If possible, procedures performed every day can include preparations for emergencies.

ABI

Okay, including preparation for emergencies into procedures used every day? That's an interesting concept Craig. Do you have an example?

CRAIG

Sure Abi. A service from South Coast of NSW described an interesting procedure. They have story time which occurs every day. It occurs at different times every day. Story time is initiated by an educator picking up a lantern and then moving to a central location inside the service. When the children reach that central point they sit and listen. No story is told until all the children are seated and all the children are listening. All staff attend story time. Sometimes the story is told in that location. Sometimes the story involves moving outside. Sometimes the story involves guests coming in to the service.

ABI

But Craig, how does that relate to emergencies?

CRAIG

So think about emergency and evacuation procedures: you want to ensure everyone's safety. In an emergency you want to gather people, you want them to listen, you want them to remain quiet. Sometimes they need to move to another location. Sometimes they need to stay in the same location. Sometimes emergency services attend the site. This service has also considered that an emergency could occur on any day at any time.

ABI

And with this daily practice, the educators and staff are also familiar with the process?

CRAIG

Well, they're all familiar with the process to gather all staff and children into a central location. This familiarity may enable a faster response to an emergency.

ABI

Thank you Craig. So, that leads us nicely into communicating during an emergency. Do you have any tips?

CRAIG

Abi there is some interesting theory about how to best communicate in an emergency. Through the early modules we discussed What/So What/Now What and that is as applicable when communicating. There are three additional considerations: What am I doing about it? What do I need from you? And when's the next update? Let me you give you an example of communication to families. What: There has been a fire at XYZ service. So what: It was unsafe to remain in the building. Now what: We have evacuated the building. What am I doing about it: We have: Called Fire and Rescue NSW who are now on site. We have completed the evacuation and confirmed all children and staff are safe. We have moved all children and staff to the Evacuation Assembly Area. What I need from you: Roads are congested at the moment. Your child is safe. Stay away from the area for the time being. Next update: I'll update you in 30 minutes at - select the time.

ABI

So Craig would you recommend that a service develops a communication plan?

CRAIG

 Most definitely Abi. It's important to have some structure about your message, the medium or media you will use to deliver it, and the audience of the message. A better practice I have seen includes message templates and, in some cases, pre-approved messages. It is quite an art to get the right message to the right people at the right time on the right medium. If you do not have a communication plan, such an achievement is almost impossible. Consider also that an emergency may occur when the Director or Nominated Supervisor is away from the service on a training course, away sick or just at lunch - how well can the staff communicate in an emergency?

ABI

Available on our website is a resource called Consulting Relevant Authorities, Communication and Notifications. This has a template called the Sample Communication Plan.

CRAIG

 Abi, that template is a great start. It provides practical suggestions of the different audiences, messages, and a suggested priority. Importantly, it can be incorporated into a service's wider communication plan. Of course, this will need to be supported by contact list for staff, families and other stakeholders, such as the Department, ACECQA, emergency services, suppliers, utilities and neighbours. We talk about communication again in the next module.

ABI

In this module we have discussed communicating about the emergency and evacuation procedures and communication in an emergency. This relates to Regulations 168, 97 and 98 of the National Regulations. So we recommend that you: Ensure that all educators and staff have been inducted into your service's emergency and evacuation procedures prior to your next rehearsal, and again after every review of your procedures. Ensure that educators and staff are aware of the role they will individually perform in an emergency. Consider the extent to which you make children and families aware of service's emergency and evacuation procedures. Review the sample Communication Plan template and consider improvements to your existing communication plan. Maintain current contact lists and review at least quarterly prior to rehearsing your emergency and evacuation procedures. Use this module as the basis of a meeting with your educators and staff as you consider how to continually improve. Keep evidence of activities you have taken as a result of this module in your Quality Improvement Plan or as a key practice identified in your self-assessment process. Should you have any specific questions, please contact the Department's information and enquiries line on 1800-619-113 or via email at ECED@det.nsw.edu.au. Thank you for watching this module.

Module 6 – Emergency and Evacuation Rehearsals

This final module discusses how to conduct and document emergency and evacuation rehearsals and your requirements under Regulation 97(3) of the National Regulations. The module looks at the most common emergency responses such as evacuation and shelter-in-place, as well as real practical examples of how services have managed to develop scenarios and methods to conduct their rehearsals effectively.

Module 6 – Emergency and Evacuation Rehearsals

ABI

This is the last of 6 modules discussing emergency management in early childhood education and care services and OSHC services. We encourage you to watch each module in order. The module is less than 10 minutes in duration. You may wish to consider using the modules as the basis for meetings with your staff. The modules are intended as guidance that may assist you develop or enhance your service's emergency management plans, procedures and capabilities. There is a series of resources available on our website to assist you. The information contained in this module and the online resources are intended as a supplement to your own experiences, knowledge and research you have obtained and used to create an environment that is as safe as reasonably practicable for your staff, the children under your care and the people who may be in the service at the time of an emergency. Once you have viewed the module we encourage you to discuss it with your team and then undertake the recommended tasks and record all actions you've completed in your Quality Improvement Plan or Self-Assessment form to demonstrate key practices of continuous improvement. The preceding five modules have offered guidance on how a service may conduct its risk assessment, develop its emergency and evacuation procedures, validate the emergency and evacuation floor plan, consult with relevant authorities, communicate about the procedures and communicate during an emergency. In this module, we will consider rehearsals of the emergency procedure and the evacuation procedure. Now to be clear, every service must rehearse its evacuation procedures and its emergency procedures every three months as a regulatory minimum requirement. Now in the first module we introduced ourselves more fully. My name is Abi Weldon-Chan and I am the Director of Regulatory Strategy, Policy and Practice in the Quality Assurance and Regulatory Services Directorate of the NSW Department of Education. Supporting me is emergency management expert Craig Moroz who is a consultant with Tigertail Australia. Hi Craig.

CRAIG

Hi Abi.

ABI

Craig, why do we need to perform rehearsals of procedures?

CRAIG

Abi where a procedure is performed multiple times daily, it quickly becomes a habit. Even a procedure performed weekly will quickly become a habit. It is not every day that a service will need to manage a full evacuation off-site or a full lockdown. Expecting your staff to perform any procedure for the first time in real world conditions, and do so flawlessly, is unrealistic and unfair. The Australian Standard discusses the minimum frequency of training for staff on emergency management procedures and the minimum frequency for exercises, or rehearsals. The authors of the National Quality Framework have chosen a much higher minimum standard for rehearsals. Thank you Craig.

ABI

Regulation 97 is quite clear that both the emergency and evacuation procedures must be rehearsed every three months. So how should services approach rehearsals?

CRAIG

There are a few ways to answer that question Abi. Let's look at the purpose of rehearsal. Over time every service should confirm that: Educators and staff can assess the problem and make a decision about which procedure to apply to the situation. Educators and staff know what to do and perform the procedure correctly. Children know what to do and respond. Communication plans are effective. The written procedures are clear and complete. If a service is new or has a high turnover of staff, the service might choose to rehearse with staff only first. The benefit of that is that staff can concentrate on understanding their role and what tasks they must perform. A staff only rehearsal is the activity to test all of the equipment that may be used in an emergency. For example, you'd like to discover that an evacuation cot successfully fits through your emergency exit before an emergency. Once staff can perform both the emergency and evacuation procedures, then add children. Children add a different dimension as they see things from a different perspective - literally and figuratively. I would expect a service to find areas that work fine for adults may need some amendment to be effective with children. Once staff and children can all perform effectively, then add families. Remember that your procedures should be able to withstand use at the busiest or most complex time of the day for the service. This could be during drop off, pick up or nap time. This approach offers the opportunity to build capability over time and is in addition to three monthly full rehearsals.

ABI

Craig - you haven't mentioned speed. Is that not important?

CRAIG

Abi speed comes with practice. Practice increases familiarity with the procedure and builds the confidence of both the individual and the team. The focus of rehearsals is to achieve the desired outcome. In the earlier modules we discussed that the objective is to ensure that all people, staff, children, family members and visitors are moved away from the hazard and safely reach a place of lesser risk. Services generally have a different number of children attend on any given day. A better practice we have seen is services who exercise the same response procedure every day for a week. They pick different times of the day and different scenarios to test the same response. By using this approach these services are maximising the number of staff and children participating in the rehearsal. I would suggest that the rehearsal is faster on Friday than it was on Monday. This will predominantly be due to increased familiarity with the procedure and increased confidence to perform the procedure.

ABI

Thank you Craig. Is it fair to say that increased familiarity with a procedure might reduce stress for a child participating in a rehearsal?

CRAIG

Abi I cannot imagine the stress that a person unfamiliar with the emergency response procedure may experience if the first time using that procedure is in an emergency. This is why we rehearse deliberately and focus on correct performance of the required procedure. By building confidence in performing a procedure, it is natural for a person -irrespective of age - to accept the situation and respond correctly by reflex. Oh, you want me to do X - OK, I know how to do this. I've done it before. Thank you Craig. And in the current situation, how should we consider COVID 19? For anyone performing a rehearsal now, they should consider how well COVID-19 physical distancing measures are incorporated into their emergency and evacuation procedures. I recommend the services examine their emergency and evacuation procedures and reconsider them in the COVID 19 context. Remember that emergency management is about moving people away from an immediate hazard to a place of less risk. If a service's building is on fire, evacuating everyone from the immediate threat to life - the fire - is a priority. It is absolute. You can work out your physical distance once everyone is safe in the evacuation assembly area.

ABI

Thank you Craig and coming back to the rehearsals. You mentioned the scenario. Why is this important?

CRAIG

So Abi the scenario is useful in providing context for the rehearsal. That context helps those evaluating the rehearsal consider the response and the required urgency. The service's risk assessment is a good source of scenarios to be used as the context for rehearsals. Remember that the purpose of the scenario is merely to provide context for the rehearsal. The rehearsal is more about validating the effectiveness of the procedure and the effectiveness of the people employing the procedure.

ABI

Thank you Craig. On the Department's website we've published the Emergency and Evacuation Rehearsal resource. In that resource there are templates for: Emergency Response Exercise Observer Checklist; and an Emergency Response Exercise Debrief and Report.

CRAIG

Abi these two templates are based on contemporary emergency management practices, including the Australian Standard. Rehearsals are a fantastic opportunity for a service to consult with the relevant authorities and families. I would recommend that every service establishes the dates for its rehearsals and does so on a calendar at least three months in advance. This allows the service to ensure family members have the opportunity to participate. Additionally, this is a good time to engage with local relevant authorities to seek their assistance. While the relevant authorities and family members are not able to develop the exercise, they may be available to observe the rehearsal. I would encourage services who make such approaches to families and relevant authorities to make a note and save that note with their Quality Improvement Plan or a key practice of continuous improvement during their self-assessment process.

ABI

Thank you Craig. In the previous module we discussed a service on the South Coast who had developed a daily procedure which aids their emergency management response, is this something to which all services should aspire?

CRAIG

That sounds ideal. That one service has been able to do this should encourage others to try. I would encourage services to consult broadly and constantly seek to improve their practices. That service deliberately looks to do things differently. Like many services, it has a high proportion of children and staff with additional needs. Rehearsals bring out many things that we may not normally consider. You may discover that a child, an educator or staff member is super-sensitive to noise or light. That discovery may lead you to consulting further and developing supporting procedures. Another service discovered that one of their children with the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder would, during a lockdown, insist on turning back on a light that had been turned off. The service first reconsidered its procedure rather than first attempt to change the child's behaviour. They ask the question: 'Why do we turn out the light?' And when they had asked 'Why' a few times they discovered that there was no valid reason to turn off the lights in the room when sheltered and the lockdown was required. In considering the dignity and rights of the child, the service developed a procedure that was better suited to their location and their children. Effective rehearsals and debriefing after rehearsals better enable critical reflection. Critical reflection informs improvement to procedures.

ABI

And Craig, such critical reflections should definitely be recorded and included in the service's Quality Improvement Plan and self-assessment journey to identify areas and opportunities for quality improvement. In this module we have discussed emergency and evacuation rehearsals. This relates specifically to Regulation 97 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations. We recommend that you: Access the resource Emergency and Evacuation Rehearsal and consider the provided templates on the Department's website. Develop and regularly refresh a calendar of events which includes rehearsals, Ensure that both the evacuation procedure and the emergency procedure are scheduled for rehearsal every three months. Use this module as the basis of a meeting with your staff as you consider how to continually improve. Keep evidence of activities you have taken as a result of this module in your Quality Improvement Plan or as a key practice identified in your self-assessment process. Should you have specific questions, please contact the Department's information and enquiries line on 1800-619-113 or by email at ECED@det.nsw.edu.au This now concludes the six module series. As you continuously improve your planning and preparedness to respond to emergencies, we encourage you to revisit these modules from time to time and to share them with your staff and families. Thank you for watching the NSW Department of Education's Emergency Management Modules.

Disclaimer

All due care has been taken in the preparation of this material. The information contained within this material is general in nature and services should ensure that they obtain advice relevant to their service’s location, staff and service offering.

Prepared by Tiger Tail Pty Limited trading as Tigertail Australia for the NSW Department of Education, Quality Assurance and Regulatory Services Directorate. Tigertail Australia accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever to any third party for any direct or indirect cost, loss, damage, or expense by that party’s reliance on the material’s contents.

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