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Bushfire and Grassfire Preparedness

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 understand more about fire risks for your school, visit the CFA’s Resources for Schools at Risk of FireExternal Link .

Communication resources

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 Resources tab.

Emergency and critical incident management planning

Schools have access to an online emergency management planning toolExternal Link (staff login required). Plans need to be reviewed and updated by 1 September annually. Refer to the Emergency and Critical Incident Management Planning Policy for further information.

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 bushfire/grassfire readiness checklist schools (DOCX)External Link or bushfire/grassfire readiness checklist early childhood (DOCX)External Link 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.

The CFA website has lesson plansExternal Link that teachers can utilise in the classroom to enhance students’ understanding of bushfire planning and support student participation in the planning process.

The website has a dedicated section to support schools with information regarding the communication of fire related informationExternal Link to students, families and the broader school community.

Essential resources for schools

CFA has a variety of information, programs and tools, which can assist people to plan and prepare for bushfire and grassfireExternal Link .

This includes Your Guide to SurvivalExternal Link , which provides essential information for anyone who lives, works or travels throughout Victoria this summer.

To assist community members residing in high fire risk areas to prepare their properties and plans, the Fire Ready KitExternal Link provides more detailed information on summer fire safety.

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.

The BPVP factsheet (PDF)External Link provides up to date information and guidelines on how schools can utilise (and then acquit) BPVP funding.

Further information is available by contacting the BPVP support team in the School Grants Unit at bushfire@education.vic.gov.au or on 03 7022 2368.

Includes essential bushfire safety information for schools and early childhood services on the BARR and Category 4 ahead of the summer fire season

Reviewed 10 October 2022

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