Bushfire Action Plan

General Information

The Bushfire Action Plan (BAP) is to be reviewed annually during Term 2 of each year to reflect any changes that may have taken place in:

  • Site facilities
  • Personnel normally on site.

The BAP outlines required actions to prepare the:

  • Site before the bushfire season
  • Building nominated as the site Safe Refuge.

The BAP also outlines activities to be undertaken by staff and students at the different levels of a bushfire emergency:

  • On days of Total Fire Ban
  • When there is a fire in the local district
  • When a bushfire is threatening or impacting on the site
  • During the period immediately after a bushfire has impacted on the site (known as the ‘Recovery Phase’).

The stone building, Building 1, (Admin, Resource Centre, Year 5/6/7 classroom, Art Room and Activity Room) is the nominated bushfire Safe Refuge for Macclesfield Primary School.

It has been prepared for a bushfire emergency and will safely accommodate all persons normally on the site.

The Macclesfield Oval Clubrooms are the nominated Safe Refuge for members of the wider Macclesfield community during a bushfire.

Students, staff and visitors present at Macclesfield Primary School when a bushfire threatens the site will move together to the oval when triggers, detailed later in this BAP, are reached.

The Principal will hold discussions with members of the Macclesfield CFS Brigade during Term 3 each year about the bushfire preparedness of the site.

The Principal will forward a copy of the site BAP to the Macclesfield CFS Brigade by Week 2 of Term 4 each year.

The Front Office SSO will forward a copy of the BAP to the families of all students onsite at the beginning of Term 1 each year.

The BAP is explained to the families of new students by the Principal during the enrolment process.

The Principal will include bushfire season reminders and information in school newsletters at least three times in each of Terms 1 and 4.

The Macclesfield Primary School Information Booklet, updated in Term 1 each year, includes detailed information about actions and procedures included in the BAP.

All staff members receive pre-fire season updates during Term 3 and ongoing information and instruction about the contents and requirements of the BAP during Term 4 and Term 1 staff meetings.

The Principal will ensure that all new staff members, relieving staff and visitors are briefed about the requirements of the BAP during the site induction process.

Preparing Macclesfield Primary School for a bushfire

An Emergency Response Team has been established and members instructed on their roles and responsibilities. The members are the:

  • Principal
  • Health & Safety Rep
  • Front Office SSO
  • Teachers

Their roles and responsibilities are detailed throughout the BAP.

A Bushfire Action Plan has been developed:

  • It will be reviewed during Term 2 each year by the staff and presented to the Governing Council for endorsement at the final meeting in Term 3.
  • The Health & Safety Rep will ensure that emergency bushfire drills are carried out by students and staff during the first 2 weeks of Term 1 and Term 4 each year.
  • The members of the Emergency Response Team will provide all staff and regular visitors with pre-fire season updates during Term 3 each year and instruction about any changes to the contents and requirements of the site's Bushfire Action Plan during the first two weeks of Term 1 and Term 4
  • All staff members have been allocated roles and responsibilities at the various stages of the Bushfire Action Plan.

Details of individual roles and responsibilities are included in later sections of the BAP:

Front Office SSOs will monitor local ABC radio for CFS Bushfire Information and Warnings Messages on days of high bushfire danger and will pass on relevant messages to the Principal.

An area of vegetation on the south eastern side (top block) of the site could impact on school facilities during a bushfire, therefore:

  • A Bushfire Hazard Management (BHM) Plan has been developed in conjunction with the Governing Council Grounds Sub Committee.
  • A copy of that plan is attached to the BAP.
  • The BHM plan is reviewed annually during Term 3 to allow required remedial action to take place before the start of the bushfire season.
  • All grasses and shrubs more than 10 cm in height and growing within 20 metres of buildings around the site have been removed.
  • The Groundsperson and Governing Council Grounds Sub-Committee will inspect the site during Term 3 each year.
  • Maintenance will be carried out by the Groundsperson or parent working bees as required.
  • Tall trees within 20 metres of buildings have been trimmed of branches up to a height of 2 metres.
  • The Grounds person and Governing Council Grounds Sub Committee will inspect the site during Term 3 each year.
  • Maintenance will be carried out by the Grounds person or parent working bees as required.
  • Overhanging trees branches have been trimmed to a distance of 2 metres from building rooflines.
  • A request will be made to the site Facilities Manager to remove any high level regrowth.
  • The gutters and roof valleys of buildings under or near to over hanging trees are regularly cleaned and free of vegetation.
  • The Groundsperson will attend to lower level gutters each month.
  • Higher gutters and roof gullies are included in the site Regular Maintenance Plan and will be cleaned every three months.
  • Timber and paintwork on all buildings is well maintained:
  • The site Facilities Maintenance Plan provides information about future maintenance.
  • Emergency maintenance is referred to the Site Facilities Manager as required.

A portable pressure pack gas siren and spare gas canisters have been purchased for use in signalling a move to the Safe Refuge during periods of electricity blackout. These are stored in the Emergency Supplies kit.

A Safe Refuge kit of ‘Emergency Supplies’ has been assembled in a single container and is stored in the Activity Room storeroom:

  • It will be taken to the Safe Refuge by the Front Office SSO at times detailed in the BAP.

The kit will contain:

  1. a copy of the BAP and staff roles and responsibilities,
  2. student rolls,
  3. staff/visitor registers,
  4. student contact information,
  5. important telephone numbers,
  6. street directory,
  7. battery powered radio,
  8. spare batteries,
  9. torch and lanterns,
  10. first aid kit,
  11. gas siren and spare canisters,
  12. staff/student medications,
  13. mobile phone,
  14. drinking water, sweets and nibbles,
  15. blankets, towels,
  16. duct tape, plastic sheeting etc.

The kit is to be checked at the start of each term by Front Office SSO to ensure contents are fresh and operational.

The Safe Refuge

The stone building (Building 1) is the nominated onsite bushfire Safe Refuge for use by Macclesfield Primary School students and staff.

  • The Safe Refuge has been clearly identified and signed.
  • Laminated A3 size posters have been placed in the windows and on the eastern door and art room door.
  • Students are reminded of the location during bushfire drills.
  • Articles in the Parent Information Book and site newsletters reinforce the location of the Safe Refuge.

The Safe Refuge is a building of solid construction. All open spaces in the façade and roof have been sealed to prevent entry by embers and ash during a bushfire.

Annexes and other structures attached or near to the building have been fully sealed and have well maintained paintwork.

Building 1 (the Safe Refuge building) can be easily and quickly reached from all areas of the site and safely holds the 120 persons normally present.

  • Students and staff practice using the Safe Refuge and moving to it from a number of areas around the site during emergency bushfire drills carried out during the first 2 weeks of Term 1 and Term 4 each year.
  • The Principal determines the timing of the drills after consultation with staff.

Vernon Street car park area allows easy access to the Safe Refuge by vehicles after an intense bushfire:

  • An alternative entry point to provide vehicle access to the Safe Refuge will be through the school oval gate on Luck Street.
  • The Principal will ensure the gate is open on days of Total Fire Ban and if a bushfire is reported in the district.
  • Newsletter bushfire updates will remind families of the alternative entry point. To ensure the appropriate supervision and safety of all students:-
    1. on entering building 1 all classes will move to the southern end of the Resource Centre and await further instructions. When safe to do so, the year 5,6,7 class will return to their room, the year 3,4 children will move to the Art Room, the year 1,2 class will go to the Activity Room and the Reception class will remain in the Resource Centre.
    2. a cupboard labelled ‘Safe Refuge Cupboard’ has been identified in the Activity Room storeroom.
    3. essential items for use during a bushfire emergency have been placed in it.
    4. a fully stocked first aid kit will be kept permanently in the Safe Refuge cupboard in the Activity Room storeroom.
    5. the kit will be checked and restocked if necessary by the First Aid SSO at the start of each term.

There is no access to drinking water in the Resource Centre, but it can be obtained from the Staff Room:

  • 4x 20 litre plastic containers of drinking water and cups are located in the Store Room adjacent to the Activity Room.
  • If required the water containers will be filled with fresh water by an SSO with one left between the resource Centre and the 5,6,7 classroom and another between the Art Room and Activity Room

The nearest toilets are the staff toilets and if necessary the children will be permitted to access these accompanied by a staff member:

  • All persons will be encouraged to use the toilets before moving to the Safe Refuge

An Emergency Supplies kit has been assembled in a single container for ease of collection and transportation to the Safe Refuge by the Front Office SSO:

  • Student and staff medications have been listed, and are easily assembled and transported to the Safe Refuge by the Front Office SSO.

Student rolls and staff/visitor registers are readily available. SSO will accurately record those:

  • Present when the move to the Safe Refuge takes place
  • Who have left the site before the move
  • Who leave the site after the bushfire emergency has passed.

In order to ensure a safe and orderly operation, a decision to move all persons into the site Safe Refuge will be made when any of the following agreed triggers are reached:

  • CFS Information and Warning messages broadcast on the local ABC radio indicate a fire is moving towards Macclesfield.
  • The local Emergency Services advise that a bushfire is likely to impact on the site.
  • We are advised by the CFS that a bushfire is burning in the surrounding districts.
  • There is a confirmed sighting of nearby smoke or flame.

Total Fire Ban Day

  • The Principal will inform students and staff when a day of Total Fire Ban has been declared.
  • Total Fire Ban signs will be displayed in the staff room, classrooms, on student noticeboards and at the front office.
  • Laminated A3 signs kept in all classrooms will be placed in visible locations by all classroom teachers before 8.30am.
  • During the first lesson, students will be reminded of site bushfire emergency procedures and drills and referred to laminated bush fire emergency posters displayed in all classrooms.
  • Students will be reminded of the procedures to be followed if a school bus is overtaken by a bushfire.
  • The Front Office SSO will monitor ABC Radio for CFS Information and Warning Messages.
  • Student excursions away from the site will be cancelled for the day and rescheduled by Teacher and SSO.
  • Off-site meetings for all staff will be cancelled.
  • The Principal will unlock and open all access and security gates around the site.
  • Staff members on yard duty will monitor weather conditions while students are on breaks or outside and report any concerns to the Principal.
  • The container of Emergency Supplies will be prepared by the Front Office SSO and be ready for transportation to the Safe Refuge.
  • The Front Office SSO and First Aid SSO will update student and staff medication list and prepare medicines for transportation.
  • SSO will ensure mobile phones are working correctly and spare batteries are fully charged.
  • All staff will ensure that all hazards (eg bench seats, bags etc) have been removed from passages and walkways and stored in a safe location.

Fire Reported in the Local District

  • When a bushfire has been reported in the local district the Principal will visit all classes and inform students and staff of its location.
  • The members of the site Emergency Response Team will be called together to put into place the pre-determined bushfire emergency procedures. The Principal will maintain a visual check of the surrounding area.
  • The nominated staff members will carefully monitor ABC Radio for CFS Information and Warning Messages and provide site leaders with updates concerning the latest location of the bushfire front and any impact it may have on the site.
  • The Principal will advise the Regional Office that a bushfire has been reported in the nominated local district.
  • The Principal will liaise with local CFS Brigade to obtain the latest information and advice about likely effect of the bushfire on the site.
  • The Front Office SSO will place the Emergency Supplies kit in the Safe Refuge.
  • The Principal will cancel onsite outdoor activities for students.
  • The Front Office SSO will identify and list all students and staff who live in the area reported to be affected by the bushfire.
  • All classroom Teachers and the Front Office SSO will record the names of any students who may be collected from the site by parents during the day.
  • The Principal will assess if it is safe for students to take outside recess and lunch breaks and notify all classes of their decision.
  • The Principal will assess if it is safe to release students from the site at normal dismissal time.
    1. if specific school bus routes or local roads are impacted upon or threatened by the bushfire, they will make arrangements to supervise the affected students until the Emergency Services report that the situation is safe to release them from the site.
  • The Front Office SSO will back up all site computer records. 
  • The Principal will open and prepare the Safe Refuge:
    1. eg close blinds and windows, wet towels, prepare drinking water, arrange
    2. appropriate locations for local community members, ready fire extinguishers, remove hazards from passageways etc
  • The SSO will ensure the alternative audible warning device is ready for use and operating correctly should power fail.
  • All class teachers will encourage students to:
    1. top up personal water bottles during the day so that they have adequate drinking water should a move to the Safe Refuge become necessary.
    2. assemble personal belongings (books, pencils, games, clothing, bags etc) and keep them close by should a move to the Safe Refuge become necessary. 
    3. use the toilets regularly during the day. 
  • All staff will undertake their assigned roles and responsibilities.
  • The Front Office SSO will alert visitors and volunteers of the situation during the registration process and advise them of action to take should a move to the Safe Refuge become necessary.
  • The Principal will liaise with SAPOL, school bus operator and school bus drivers to determine any likely impact of the reported bushfire on school bus routes.
  • School buses will not leave site unless a clear directive is given to the Principal by SAPOL or CFS Incident Management indicating bus routes are safe to travel.
  • If a bushfire prevents school buses leaving the site or students from boarding buses, the Principal and Teachers will supervise students remaining onsite until they are collected by parents.

Fire in the Immediate Vicinity or Impacting on the Site

The triggers for a move to the Safe Refuge have been detailed above. All staff, students, visitors and parents are aware and prepared for the move that will take place when the triggers are reached:

  • When a trigger is reached, the agreed alarm signal or the gas powered siren will be sounded continuously by the Principal.
  • All students, staff and visitors will move to the Safe Refuge on hearing the siren or being informed personally by the Principal.
  • All staff will assist students to move to and assemble in, the Safe Refuge.
  • All staff will take the fire extinguishers with them from their classrooms to Safe Refuge.
    1. the fire extinguishers are to be placed on the floor inside the doorway on arrival.
  • Staff will close all doors and windows and turn off airconditioners as rooms are vacated.
  • The Principal will turn off airconditioners and close air vents in the Safe Refuge as the bushfire front approaches.
  • The Principal will ensure all site personnel are accounted for and in the Safe Refuge.
  • Classroom teachers will do a roll call of students in their care.
  • The Front Office SSO will monitor visitors and volunteers.
  • The Emergency Response Team members will institute search procedures for missing persons if needed.

The Principal will advise the Regional Office of the move to the Safe Refuge and provide information about the:

  • Trigger that has been reached and likely impact on the site.
  • Number of students, staff and registered visitors taking shelter on the site.
  • Number of off-site students and staff present.
  • Number of community members present.
  • Emergency Services assistance immediately available.

The Emergency Response Team members will liaise with CFS and MFS units and other Emergency Services if onsite.

All persons sheltering in the Safe Refuge will prepare for arrival and passage of the fire front.

The Emergency Response Team will:

  • Ensure all persons are located away from windows and unnecessary movement is limited.
  • Provide regular updates at an appropriate level to students and adults
  • Describe the situation that can be safely observed outside the building to all persons in the Safe Refuge.
  • Assist all students and adults to remain calm.
  • Outline possible plans of action after the fire front has passed with the students.

Classroom teachers will prepare for unexpected toileting of students.

Emergency Response Team members will check for and attempt to extinguish spot fires inside or impacting on the Safe Refuge as necessary:

  • It is not expected that they will undertake major firefighting activities.
  • They are not expected to put themselves in any dangerous situations.

All staff will undertake their assigned roles and responsibilities.

Recovery after the front has passed

  • The Principal will ensure no one leaves the Safe Refuge until the situation outside has been assessed as safe by the members of the Emergency Response Team or members of the Emergency Services.
  • The Emergency Response Team members will make an assessment of the need for, and if necessary, begin preparations to care for students for an extended period of time.
  • Nominated staff members will remain on duty until all students are collected from the site by their parents.
  • Snacks, drinking water, blankets, games, books etc are available to meet student immediate and extended needs of students waiting to be collected by their parents.
  • The First Aid SSO will check for and treat any injuries.
  • The Emergency Response Team members will check the building for damage and burning embers.
  • Teacher will extinguish small fires in or near the Safe Refuge.
  • The Principal will liaise with Emergency Services on site as soon as possible.
  • The Principal will advise the Regional Office of the current situation as soon as the position becomes clear and it is safe to do so. 
  • The Principal will refer media enquiries to the Regional Director.
  • The Emergency Response Team members will determine if there is a need to evacuate the Safe Refuge.
  • The Emergency Response Team members will determine an alternative safe location if required.
  • All staff members will begin to reunite families at a safe location when the situation has been declared safe and vehicles can safely access the site.
  • The Front Office SSO will record names of students and person collecting them as they leave the site. 
  • All staff undertake their assigned roles and responsibilities.
  • The Principal, Emergency Response Team, staff and students (where appropriate) will undertake a debrief of the bush fire emergency situation and the procedures undertaken at an appropriate time shortly after the incident.
  • The Principal will seek support for students and staff from counsellors and social workers when appropriate.
  • The Emergency Response Team will review the effectiveness of staff instruction undertaken before the bush fire emergency in light of the experience in order to ensure that lessons learnt are captured for future benefit.
  • The Principal will arrange to have fire fighting systems checked and readied for use again.
  • The Front Office SSO will replenish the Emergency Supplies package.
  • The Principal will arrange to have the appropriate authorities assess the safety of site buildings once the area is declared safe. 
  • The Principal will complete the relevant report available from www.crisis.sa.edu.au