Emergencies – Bushfire and Grassfire Readiness Review Checklist


Early childhood service site bushfire / grassfire readiness review checklist


Provider Number:

Service premises Address:

Review conducted by:                                                                Review Date:    /      /

Bushfire Attack Level Rating (BAL):                                          Date of Rating:     /     /





Ensuring your early childhood service’s (service) buildings, safety and communications equipment and surrounds are as bushfire/grassfire ready as possible is critical to reducing the consequences of bushfire/grassfire risk to children and staff.

This early childhood service site bushfire/grassfire readiness checklist is a key part of your annual bushfire preparation and complements other important tasks including:

  • Reviewing and updating the service’s Emergency Management Plan (EMP)
  • Conducting regular drills/scenarios to rehearse emergency and evacuation procedures for specific types of hazards/threats
  • Ensuring that staff with responsibilities in an emergency understand and can perform their roles
  • Socialising your EMP with families, local emergency services, local Council, the CFA (the CFA will be able to advise on many of the items covered in this checklist) and the broader community
  • Aligning your EMP with that of any facility sharing your site or in close proximity


  1. Fire and Safety Equipment
  Yes/No Required Action Due Date
The service specific emergency warnings/alarms for evacuation, lockdown and shelter-in-place (if these are not able to function during a power outage, alternative arrangements have been developed)
Contents of the emergency kit are regularly checked against the checklist of required items in the service’s Emergency Management Plan
The following fire protection equipment, where in place, has been tested (check testing tag for currency) and is in working condition in accordance with the Building Regulations 2006:
·         Portable fire extinguisher/s, including correct colour code
·         Fire blanket/s in kitchen/cooking areas
·         Fire hose reel/s
·         Fire hydrant/s
·         Water storage tank connections for fire appliances
·         Fixed water pressure pumps
·         Emergency generator/power system
·         Water supplies and equipment
·         Sprinklers (including any roof mounted and irrigation systems)
·         Alarms
·         First aid materials
·         Fire blankets
·         Communications systems
·         Other:

·         (e.g. roller shutters on the shelter-in-place location)

The service’s register of emergency equipment and maintenance testing is up to date
Nominated staff have been instructed in, and practised the operation of fire protection equipment
Fire safety equipment, including hydrants are clear of vegetation and obstruction, is easily accessible and visible
All fire protection equipment has clear signage and operating instructions are displayed
The service has equipment to safely move children if necessary


  1. Vegetation Management
  Yes/No Required Action Due Date
The site has been slashed or cleared of all flammable undergrowth such as dry grass to the site boundary
A fuel reduction zone has been established around buildings (20 metres as a guide) by cutting long grass, removing dead vegetation and pruning lower limbs of established trees (check with local council before removing trees)
The fuel reduction zone does not have plantings that are dense and typical of bushland settings (but may include low plantings with low flammability characteristics – seek advice from the CFA if necessary)
Trees or branches overhanging buildings and sheds have been removed or trimmed to a height of 2 metres from building rooflines and 2 metres clear of buildings
All stockpiled leaves, prunings, dead limbs and trees and other combustible materials have been removed from the site
Thick, continuous shrubs or other vegetation contacting building walls or directly under windows have been removed
Roof gutters are clear of leaves, twigs and branches


  1. Emergency Communications

It is critical to ensure the service is able to remain in contact with emergency services, parents and other relevant parties, such as school bus program coordinator schools where appropriate etc. during an emergency.

  Yes/No Required Action Due Date
In case of a power outage, the service has options/arrangements to maintain communications (e.g. dedicated landline, Emergency Positioning Indicator Radio Beacon (EPIRB), satellite phone, designated school mobile phone)
Where possible, the service is able to access IT systems, including  for sending emergency SMS messages to parents from an off-site location
The service has a battery operated radio in its shelter-in-place location or emergency kit


  1. Evacuation/Relocation, Site Access and Surrounds
  Yes/No Required Action Due Date
Emergency and evacuation floor plans/diagrams and instructions are displayed in a prominent position near each exit at the service (Regulation 97).  Further guidance is provided in DET’s ‘Guide to developing your emergency management plan’
Exit signs are displayed over emergency exits
Designated emergency exits are free of obstruction and easy to open
The services has equipment to safely move children with a disability where this is required
Fire appliances can access water tank connections
Where they exist, driveways and fire vehicle access areas are clear of debris and any obstacles (CFA advises fire truck access requires 4m wide and 4m high that is clear of overhanging branches and archway structures)
The service has more than one option for evacuating off-site
Where neighbouring properties pose a fire risk to the service because of vegetation, flammable materials or activities conducted on the property, the service has consulted the property owner, local council or  Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning as appropriate to address the issue


  1. Shelter-In-Place

All services should have nominated location/s in which to shelter-in-place (SIP).  The shelter-in-place location can be used to provide temporary accommodation until emergency services arrive or as a place of last resort if there is insufficient time to evacuate.

  Yes/No Required Action Due Date

Location/s in which to shelter-in-place on the site have been identified

The SIP location/s are able to accommodate all students and staff
The SIP location/s provide access to toilets and water
The SIP location/s have more than one entry and exit point
The SIP location/s allow access for students and staff of all abilities
Safety equipment in the SIP location/s is in proper working order


  1. Flammable Substances/Materials and Site Rubbish


  Yes/No Required Action Due Date
Gas storage systems (portable bottles and fixed tanks), flammable materials and substances and other dangerous goods are maintained, secured and controlled in accordance with the WorkSafe Code of practice for the storage and handling of dangerous goods
Gas storage/flammable liquids are kept away from the SIP location/s
If the car park is near the nominated shelter-in-place location/s, arrangements exist for vehicles to be relocated when necessary (due to the risk of fuel tanks exploding)
Rubbish bins are emptied before each weekend and holidays
Rubbish bins are secured away out of service hours from any buildings and structures such as pergolas, verandas and trees
Broken or unused equipment stored on site is appropriately disposed of, including resources, furniture and packaging material
Industrial bins are located in a secure area or the lid secured and away from the shelter-in-place location/s