School operations


including camps and adventure activities

Emergency or critical incident management

Excursions which involve:

  • overnight stays
  • interstate travel
  • overseas travel
  • adventure activities
  • travel via sea or air
  • weekends or school holidays.

must have an emergency management plan (refer to: Risk Register and Emergency Management Plan template (Word) (staff login required)).

A school must have a clearly written set of emergency response procedures that:

  • address the consequences (rated moderate or above) of all risks identified in the risk register
  • are understood by those involved in the program (this may, where appropriate, include a trial evacuation exercise carried out at the venue to ensure that procedures are appropriate and staff and students are familiar with them)
  • include
    • rescue, resuscitation and first aid procedures
    • how to contact a doctor, ambulance or emergency service
    • how to maintain situational awareness at all times (for example, weather forecasts for outdoors activities)
    • the effects of an emergency on student supervision in the event of excursion staff being required to assist injured students or to go for help
    • support for students who may have difficulty communicating in an emergency because of age or disability and ways to manage any specific risks to these students in an emergency
  • covers arrangements if the excursion needs to be cancelled, recalled or altered (for example, due to forecast severe weather conditions, changes to Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade travel advice or an emergency). This should include arrangements for communicating with parents/carers
  • where relevant, are consistent with the procedures used by venue owners, managers or rescue and life-saving patrols.

The teacher in direct control of the group is responsible for implementation of the procedures, which may include the involvement of others who have more experience in dealing with emergencies.

To support the development of the Emergency Management Plan, schools should view the Sample Emergency Responses Procedures (Word), which outlines key actions in a variety of emergency situations (such as bushfire, flood, hypothermia, hyperthermia).

In the event of an emergency, accident or injury:

  • staff on the excursion should:
    • take emergency action to establish safety as per the emergency management plan
    • immediately notify the school principal or designated school contact
  • the principal or designated school contact:
    • should make arrangements for the incident to be recorded by calling the Department’s Incident Support and Operations Centre (ISOC) on 1800 126 126 (24 hours)
    • may obtain further information, such as statements from witnesses, where required to provide appropriate support to affected students or to properly document the incident and retain these on file. Any such documents should be managed in accordance with the Schools' Privacy Policy.

Staff must also ensure that details of accidents or incidents are recorded on the injury management system on CASES21.

For further information refer to: Reporting and Managing School Incidents (Including Emergencies).

Chapter in the Excursion Guidelines outlining the requirements for emergency and critical incident planning and management during an excursion

Reviewed 24 November 2021

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