Bushfire safety information
Essential bushfire safety information for schools and early childhood services on the Bushfire at-Risk Register (BARR) and Category 4 ahead of the summer fire season.
Fire behaviour in Victoria is classified by 7 different fire behaviour models, which refer to the different types of fire fuels available across the Victorian landscape. These fire fuels include forest, grassland, grassy woodland, spinifex, shrubland, mallee heath, pine and non-combustible fuels. Whilst the term bushfire is used broadly to refer to all fires across these different fuel types, it is important to understand that fire can behave differently in different landscapes and with different fuels.
To assist with informing your families about your school or early childhood services relocating or closing on forecast days of elevated fire danger, the department has produced standardised posters, newsletter articles, letter templates and other communication tools that you may choose to adapt and use as appropriate. These can be found on the .
Emergency and critical incident management planning
Schools and early childhood services should continue to review and update their risk assessments and response procedures so they are site specific and provide the appropriate level of guidance in the event that the procedures need to be activated.
Ensuring your school and early childhood service’s building, safety equipment and surrounds are fire ready is critical to reducing the consequences of a bushfire. Consider using the or ahead of the fire season.
Student participation in bushfire readiness
Research indicates that when students have access to accurate knowledge and information about bushfires and are provided with opportunities to actively participate in bushfire planning activities, they can make a valuable contribution to risk reduction at home, at school, and in the broader school community. By actively involving your students in the school’s emergency planning, they will also be better equipped to follow the necessary procedures in the event of a bushfire emergency.
Essential resources for schools
Additionally, here are some activities that you can undertake to support your school community to prepare for bushfire and grassfire:
- Talk to your local CFA Brigade and help promote any scheduled community meetings.
- Talk to parents and children about school or early childhood service’s emergency management planning arrangements.
- Contact your local CFA District Community Education Coordinator to arrange a bushfire planning workshop for staff and/or families.
Bushfire Preparedness (Vegetation) Program
School campuses listed on the BARR (Categories 0 to 3) receive funding under the department’s Bushfire Preparedness (Vegetation) Program (BPVP) in recognition of their higher risk.
BPVP funding is provided for essential bushfire vegetation clearance works undertaken prior to the annual bushfire season. A condition of BPVP funding is that eligible BARR schools must demonstrate appropriate planning for bushfire mitigation by ensuring they have a basic vegetation management plan (VMP) in place (or equivalent).
Over the course of a 3-year rotation, all eligible BARR schools will be visited by a VSBA funded, qualified bushfire planning and design practitioner and provided with a 3-year VMP tailored for that school.
Reviewed 10 October 2022