Bushfire Management

With the recent terrible bushfires in NSW and Queensland, RCC would like to update Parents/Caregivers and community members what the College has been doing in preparing for the bushfire season. The College in consultation with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, Department of Education and our local fire brigade have undertaken a range of bushfire preparedness measures including;

• Prescribed burning within the College site - to reduce the overall fuel load to the College and wider Community.
• Modification of vegetation by Mechanical works – Increasing the separation distance of College buildings from bushfire prone vegetation, better protection classrooms, whilst providing a suitable defendable space for Emergency Services personnel.
• Upgrading of existing fire access ways to improve suitable access for Emergency Services personnel.
• Consulting with the Roleystone Fire brigade to conduct training on the installed Fire Booster system.
• Reviewing and improving the College’s specific Stand-Alone Bushfire plan.
• Improving the College’s communication to parents

The College has undertaken these measures to provide a safer environment for our students and staff and to improve the preparedness and survivability of the College in a bushfire event.
In the case of a Bushfire Emergency, the College has a very clear plan with the following overarching processes:
1. Pre-emptively closing the College if there is a high chance of danger from Bushfires.
2. Monitoring situations and ensuring students are sent home well before emergencies occur.


HOWEVER, in the case where there is an emergency situation, upon advice from DFES, we do not evacuate the College. We do instead put in place:
3. Watch and monitor.
4. Move to safe buildings within the College and Protect in Place. The Fire Brigade then protects the safe buildings in the College to ensure the safety of all students and staff.

In the case of an emergency, we direct all communications and requests for information to South Metropolitan Regional Education Office so that College communication channels are kept open for emergency response.


Mark Brookes
Principal

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (www.dfes.wa.gov.au)

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) (Formerly The Fire and Emergency Services Authority of WA) performs a critical role in coordinating emergency services for a range of natural disasters and emergency incidents threatening life and property. The College's Evacuation and Emergency Procedures reflect the DFES advice in responding to bushfire threats.

  • Preparation. We know the bushfire risk and have developed a bushfire survival plan in consultation with DFES.
  • Acting on the fire danger ratings.
  • Survival by monitoring conditions if a fire starts and responding to DFES advice.

The priority will always be to prevent loss of life and in essence the two most likely responses to a bushfire emergency are either a Preemptive School Closure or a Lockdown.

School Closure

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) can recommend to the Department of Education that a school not open for the day. A preemptive school closure will be communicated to the community via a number of channels - radio, TV, mobile phone SMS and the DFES website. If a school closure is ordered parents and carers must not send their children to school. It is likely that there will be few (if any staff) on site as road closures will probably be in place. A preemptive school closure is issued at least 12 hours ahead of the school day. During a bushfire alert it is recommended that all community members frequently access the DFES alerts and warning section of their website. It is a good idea to have this bookmarked on your computer, smart phone and/or iPad.

Lockdown

This will occur if a bushfire threat arises in a manner that does not allow sufficient time for a preemptive closure to be ordered. In this situation the College will be placed under the control of DFES officers and they will be on site in sufficient numbers to protect staff and students. If a lockdown is ordered, there will be no access to the College until the emergency has passed. This will be enforced by DFES, Police and City of Armadale Rangers.

The College, in consultation with DFES, has identified the buildings/blocks where staff and students will be accommodated during the emergency. Each building or block will have a warden and they will be responsible for ensuring that communication with DFES is maintained through our own dedicated and licensed radio channel. Each building or block will also have their own emergency response kit which will contain a megaphone, radio, basic first aid, whistle and a flouro vest (for warden identification).

It should be noted that the College has new buildings that comply with the latest fire safety requirements, a new fire hydrant system, ample buffer zones between bush and buildings and dedicated DFES tracks that provide access to the entire campus. DFES has also conducted fuel load reduction burns on our site. The site is now so well prepared for bushfire emergencies that it may be used as a community evacuation point should this need arise.

Evacuation

It is highly unlikely that DFES will order the campus to be evacuated during a lockdown. However should this be deemed necessary DFES will coordinate the evacuation with the help of police. An evacuation will necessitate a convoy of buses.

pdfClick here to view the Summary of Evacuation and Emergency Response to Bushfire Threat in a pdf.