Amberley O.S.H.C.

Children are our future, We are dedicated to their success!

7.5 Extreme Weather

The service acknowledges that extreme weather conditions could pose significant risk to children and educators attending the service during operating hours therefore precautions to ensure the health and wellbeing of children and educators will be implemented.  Extreme weather conditions may include excessive heat, bushfires, torrential storms, floods, hail stones and/or snow.

Relevant Laws and other Provisions

The laws and other provisions affecting this policy include:

  • Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 and Regulations 2011
  • Queensland Work health and Safety Act and Regulations 2011
  • Australian Bureau of meteorology www.bom.gov.au
  • Queensland State Emergency Services www.emergency.qld.gov.au
  • Duty of Care
  • NQS Area: 2.3.2, 2.3.3; 5.1.3, 5.2.3; 7.1.2, 7.3.2, 7.3.5
  • Policies: 1 – Educational Program Planning, 3.3 – Educator Practices, 3.7 – Physical Activity, 3.12 – Sustainability Practices, 4.8 – Sun Safety, 6.5 – Use and Maintenance of Air Conditioning, 7.1 – Emergency Equipment and Facilities, 7.2 – Drills and Evacuations, 9.3 – Communication with Families, 10.9 – Risk Management and Compliance.

Procedures

In relation to extreme weather events, the service will take its lead predominantly from the school, weather warnings and forecasts.  Therefore if the school in which the service is located is closed, Amberley OSHC may also be closed.

The Co-ordinator will be responsible to ensure that the heating and cooling requirements of the service are adequate and maintained at an acceptable temperature.

In the case of extreme weather events and possible power outages, the Co-ordinator will ensure a ‘storm pack’ including a torch, batteries and a small radio is readily accessible to educators.  The c-coordinator will ensure the service mobile phone is accessible to educators, when required.

The coordinator will ensure that risk assessments are conducted for identified extreme weather events with control measures identified. Educators will be required to read and sign all risk assessments.

Management and staff at the service shall at all times take not of the prevailing weather conditions.

The Nominated/Certified Supervisor or another delegated staff member shall undertake a daily check of forecasted weather conditions in the area.

If there is a forecasted risk of a severe weather developing on that day, hourly checks of the Bureau of Meteorology website www.bom.gov.au/weather/qld or calls to the recorded information service on 1300 659 219, shall be undertaken. Alternately, a staff member shall listen to a local radio station for warnings.

All staff shall also keep an informal watch on the sky at all times and if there appears to be a change developing, the staff member shall advise the Nominated/Certified Supervisor who shall undertake a formal check of the weather warning system.

In the event that a severe weather warning is issued, the Nominated/Certified Supervisor shall estimate the time before the service will come under the influence of the event.

The Nominated/Certified Supervisor shall advise all staff of the nature and timeframe of the event.

In the lead up to the event and in a relevant timely manner staff shall:

  • Remain calm and ensure that the children are not unduly concerned;
  • Move the children into their rooms and check to ensure all children and other staff are accounted for;
  • Pack up outdoor equipment;
  • Secure any outdoor furniture that cannot be put into storage; pack up and secure toys and small equipment from outside;
  • If time and supervision numbers allow, staff shall be given the opportunity to park vehicles under solid shelter or cover with firmly tied tarpaulins/blankets;
  • Secure all external doors and windows and draw curtains and blinds;
  • Ensure that valuables, medications are packed and secure;
  • Ensure that adequate drinks are available for each person in each area;
  • Check that the First Aid Kit is accessible;
  • Disconnect all electrical items, external TV/radio aerials and computer modems.

During the event, the staff shall:

  • Reassure the children and maintain a positive outlook;
  • Keep the children occupied with suitable activities;
  • Stay inside and shelter well clear of windows, doors and skylights;
  • If the building starts to break up, shelter in the strongest part under a mattress, doona, or a strong table or bench;
  • Keep informed as to the weather events progress, either through the Nominated/Certified Supervisor or by listening to a portable radio;
  • Do not use electrical equipment or landline telephones.

The Nominated/Certified Supervisor shall determine if the event has passed.

The Nominated/Certified Supervisor and a senior staff member shall inspect the outside of the service for possible damage and/or hazards.

Any hazards identified shall be addressed using the process contained in the Risk management Policy.

If minor external clean-up is required, the Nominated/Certified Supervisor shall determine the process to be used.

In the event that the external area has sustained damage and/or is polluted by debris, the Nominated/Certified Supervisor shall contact the appropriate emergency services.

No child or staff member shall go outside until the Nominated/Certified Supervisor has given an “all clear”.

Arrangements shall be made by the Nominated/Certified Supervisor to ensure that enough staff are available to answer both telephone and in-person parent enquiries.

The Nominated/Certified Supervisor shall make arrangements for extended operating hours if the event has likely caused road closures or public transport disruption.

Staff and children shall be de-briefed following the event.

If required, the service shall arrange for staff and/or children to access professional counselling services.

During times of hot weather, educators and children will be encouraged to:

  • Follow the service’s Sun Safety Policy by wearing sun smart clothing, a broad brimmed hat and applying sunscreen.
  • Drink fluids more frequently throughout the session, particularly cold water.
  • Keep cool by wrapping a bandana or washer around their neck or using a mist bottle to spray themselves.
  • Staying indoors, preferably in an air-conditioned or well-ventilated building with fans and open windows.
  • Limit strenuous outdoor activities by conducting games and activities indoors or in shaded areas outdoors.

If, during normal operating hours, closure of the service is expected as the result of an extreme weather event, the Nominated /Certified Supervisor will:

  • Contact Management to make them aware of the situation;
  • Contact families to arrange collection of their child;
  • Ensure the regulatory authority (https://closures.earlychildhood.qld.gov.au) and relevant government agencies such as DEEWR are notified of closure as soon as practical.
Reviewed 6 April 2015, Updated 30 May 2017


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