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Bushfire Season

Found in: Leadership Blog

As the Bushfire season approaches, it is important all parents and students are well informed about MCC's Bushfire Response Plan.

We want to assure you that we have a thorough Emergency Management plan in place, which outlines our response to a number of different emergencies. This includes a comprehensive response plan to bushfire threat, based on advice from the Shire of Mundaring, Emergency representatives and a bushfire safety consultant.

As part of the ongoing maintenance of the College grounds, gutters are kept clean and the fuel load is kept low. We conduct emergency drills throughout the year, especially during the Bushfire season. In the case of a bushfire alert or emergency, we will update parents frequently via the College App, SMS system, facebook and website. It is your responsibility to advise us of any changes to your contact details and is very important to make sure the College has your current mobile phone numbers.

We monitor Bureau of Meteorology forecasts for the degree of bushfire risk in our area, and also receive notifications from the Association of Independent Schools WA (AISWA). If the forecast indicates a Catastrophic Fire Danger Rating, or if there is a developing threat from a fire in the vicinity,  Mundaring Christian College will be closed for the entire day. Parents will be notified as early as possible to allow for alternate arrangements.

Once the decision to close has been confirmed, there will be no change – regardless of improvements to the weather conditions. Please plan for school closures by ensuring you have someone who can mind your children - no child should be left at home alone.

In the event of an unfolding emergency while students are at school, we have two options. In both cases, the College has an appointed Liaison Person (member of staff) and they will be based at the Emergency Control Centre (Police, DFES, Main Roads, Shire personal) to receive instructions from the Incident Controller first-hand. This information will then be relayed directly to me for implementation.

  1. Bushfire Alert With Sufficient Notice: If we have sufficient warning time, and have absolute assurance of the safety of the students during transport, we will relocate all students and staff to a safe venue offsite. We have met with the Emergency Response staff from the Mundaring Shire to establish processes for how this would occur, and we would liaise with them at the time of the emergency to determine the safest location for evacuation. We have already contacted bus companies with regard to quick response. This is achievable even if multiple schools are simultaneously evacuating. You will be kept informed through the methods mentioned above.
  2. Bushfire Alert Without Sufficient Notice: If we do not have sufficient time to evacuate, we will relocate all students and staff to the ‘Safer Building Zone’ at each Campus – this is a building located on the Campus grounds assessed to be safer than others by a Bushfire Safety Consultant. There is access to toilets and water and we conduct regular evacuation drills to re-familiarise all staff and students of the process. Information on road closures, evacuation plans, etc will also be provided by the Incident Controller via the Liaison Person. As much information as possible will be made available to parents through the methods mentioned above.

If you live in a bushfire area, talk to your child/ren about responding to a bushfire. If Mundaring Christian College has to close, talk to your children about why the College is closed. Ensure you are familiar with the Fire Danger Rating and ensure you prepare your own personal fire plan.

In the case of serious emergency, there will be firefighters and most likely police on the College grounds. There is every possibility that should you arrive against instructions, you would be required to remain, which may leave other members of your family or your property threatened.

The Red Cross are running a FREE Emergency Preparedness Session on Thursday 17 November at 6.30pm at the Parkerville Campus. Valuable and practical information will be presented there so I encourage you to attend if you are able. Further information on the session is available in this newsletter.

If you would like more information regarding the MCC Bushfire Response Plan, please contact the College Office.

Mr Rod McNeill