Bushfire Preparedness

Bushfire Preparedness: School Closures

This article provides important information from the Department of Education and the Department of Fire & Emergency services on school closures during periods when the fire danger rating has been ranked at ‘Catastrophic’.

 

Fire danger ratings and warnings are used in Western Australia to provide clear direction on the safest options for preserving life.

Schools and children’s services listed on the DoE Bushfire At-Risk Register (BARR) will be closed when a Catastrophic Fire Danger rating day is determined by the Bureau of Meteorology. Helena College has been identified as being one of those schools at high bushfire risk.   

Where possible, we will provide parents with as much notice as possible of a potential Catastrophic Fire Danger day closure by email and SMS.  A Catastrophic Fire Danger rating should be determined by no later than 4.30pm the day before the potential closure.

Once confirmed, the decision to close will not change, regardless of improvements in the weather forecast. This is to avoid confusion and help your family plan alternative care arrangements for your child.  It is also important to note that:

  • No staff will be on-site on days when the school is closed
  • Camps will be cancelled if a Catastrophic Fire Danger rating is determined for the Bureau of Meteorology district in which the camp is located.
  • All bus transport services provided by the College will be cancelled.

On these Catastrophic rating days families are encouraged to enact their Bushfire Survival Plan – on such days children should never be left at home alone or in the care of older children.

For those of us living in a bushfire-prone area, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) advises that when Catastrophic rating days are forecast, the safest option is to leave the night before or early in the morning.

As part of preparing the College for potential hazards such as fire, we have updated and completed our Bushfire Emergency Procedures. You can find more information on Helena College’s Bushfire Response Plan here.

What Families Can Do

  • Make sure your family’s bushfire survival plan is up-to-date and includes alternative care arrangements in the event that the College is closed.
  • Ensure we have your current contact details, including your mobile phone numbers.  Keep in touch with us by reading our newsletters and by checking our website.
  • Most importantly at this time of year, if you’re planning a holiday or short stay in the bush or in a coastal area, you should check warnings in advance of travel and remain vigilant during your stay.
  • If your child is old enough, talk to them about bushfires and your family’s bushfire survival plan.

You can access more information on Bushfire Preparedness from DFES here.

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