There are many ways for a fire to occur in a childcare centre, but there are far more ways to reduce the chances of it. With the help of a fire safety plan, childcare centres can gain a good level of safety without worrying about mishaps and create a Fire-safe Childcare Centre.
Establishing a Fire-safe Childcare Centre Plan involves these three major steps:
1. Identifying and Assessing the Hazards
While it may not look like childcare centres are prone to danger, it is still a necessity to assess the place. In order to manage these risks, make it a priority to:
- Look for fire hazards in the facility. By listing down these hazards, it is easier to match them with a corresponding action plan. In the form of a child care fire safety checklist, identify the dangers and correspondingly check the warning systems and emergency procedures used in response to the dangers present.
- Work with the health and safety representative or anyone responsible for the security of the day care centre. You may also hire a professional fire safety technician in Dalby to help assess the child care centre facilities.
- Gather official data on all hazardous materials present in the facility or nearby. Staying nearby bushfire prone areas also qualifies as hazardous and should be added to the list.
- File records of previous fire incidents and discuss the fire safety and emergency measures with the concerned safety committee.
2. Controlling and Reducing the Risks
After assessing the risks, reducing them should come after, prioritising on the following:
- For a centre to be considered fire safe, it has to function under approved Codes of Practice, Regulations, Acts and ultimately, Australian Standards.
- The building has to be designed to minimise the risk of fire. The same is applicable to allowing firefighting and emergency procedures to take place efficiently.
Use of materials
- Can flammable materials in the child care be replaced with non-flammable ones? If so, supply only the latter.
- Use fire-resistant furnishings and tools
- Lessen the use or quantity of flammable materials if possible
Installing of fire safe equipment
- Supply a sufficient amount of fire safety equipment
- Install fire systems that are appropriate for the child care centre. Consider fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and fire alarms
- Identify the different fire extinguisher classes in Queensland matching the type of fire that is likely to occur in the facility
- Ensure all exit signs are complete and installed in appropriate areas
- Are there schedules and checklists for the maintenance of fire safety equipment? The materials and entire daycare should have a regular maintenance check for possible risks
3. Planning for Fire and Emergency Evacuation
Ideally, a Fire-safe Childcare Centre evacuation plan should be established to reduce potential injury and illness. It is necessary to involve the employees in building the action plan with emergency procedures outlined and presented to each one. What you need to include in the plan are the following:
- Discuss among employees the course of action for minimising hazards.
- Assign people to raise the alarm to notify emergency personnel such as the fire brigade, ambulance and police. Also, make use of fire detection systems for a quicker way to alert them.
- Establish an effective communication process allowing quick evacuation and response.
- Include the significant points on when, how and where to evacuate during an emergency.
- Make sure the plans are reviewed regularly and updated when necessary.
- A test run should be conducted to assess each component of the process and identify loopholes that might affect the potency of the plan.
The significance of Fire-safe Childcare Centre Plans is equivalent to the security of the occupants’ lives, especially the children’s. For that reason, it must not be taken for granted. When establishing your safety plan, ensure its accuracy and effectiveness with the help of a fire safety professional.