MECS Blog

Bushfire Preparedness

Bushfire Preparedness

Thursday, 12 December 2013  | Paul - Principal

The focus of the audit was our policies in 3 areas:

Mandatory reporting policy and implementation
Anaphylaxis policy and implementation
Bushfire Preparedness Policy
It’s the last area that I would like to touch on briefly. For some of you who have been in our community for a long time (possibly Year 12 parents and some staff), you will remember the time that MECS came under a significant bushfire threat (I wrote about my recollections of this event a few newsletters ago). The threat was so significant that we evacuated the school, against the guiding of our bushfire plan but under the direction of the police. A review was undertaken and our emergency and evacuation procedures were updated.

More recently, the events of ‘Black Saturday’ again changed the face of bushfire threat response, and therefore required a change from us. Through this process with the VRQA, we as a school have double (and triple) checked things such as: Are our facilities safe and appropriate for accommodating all the staff and students in an immediate bushfire threat? Are our evacuation procedures as efficient and effective as possible to safely remove students from the site?

The VRQA have suggested to schools in high bushfire areas to undertake an audit of facilities to check that they provide the required level of safety should this unlikely event occur.  Even though this is an expensive undertaking, it was never a question for us. Today we employed the services of a consultant organisation who have conducted these Bushfire preparedness assessments at over 250 schools post Black Saturday. This is a very good thing, and appropriate timing to allow for any recommended changes to be made before the bushfire season begins.  We are determined and committed to providing the safest place for your children and our staff, and to have a best practice Emergency Management Plan.

I am pleased to be able to report that the VRQA is very satisfied with our current policies. The approach from the VRQA staff has not been one of ‘trying to catch us out doing the wrong thing’ but rather a legitimate desire to help us get the safety of our students right. And we are in complete agreement with that. 
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