Code Red Days – Information.

It is important that all of our families understand the circumstances that apply to Chum Creek Primary School on days declared Code Red.  Please read ALL of the following information and contact the Principal if any clarification is needed. FAQs are listed toward the bottom of the page.

 Bushfire At-Risk Register
Schools, kindergartens and child care facilities at the highest risk of fire danger are placed on the DEECD’s Bushfire At-Risk Register. Chum Creek Primary School and our Out-of-School-Childcare Program are included on this Register. Inclusion on this Register is a trigger for our school to pre-emptively close on days declared Code Red in our Bureau of Meteorology region. If you have queries relating to the register, please email bushfires@edumail.vic.gov.au

About Code Red Days: What happens on a Code Red Day?
- Schools, kindergartens and licensed child care centres that have been identified as being at high fire risk and on the Department’s Bushfire At-Risk Register will close on days declared Code Red. Schools and services not on the Department’s Bushfire At-Risk Register will remain open, unless directly threatened by fire or another emergency.

- Where possible, up to three days’ notice of a planned closure will be provided; parents and carers should, however, expect that in some instances fewer than 3-days’ notice may be provided.
- Once the final decision to close is confirmed at 12 noon the day prior, this decision will not change – regardless of any changes in the weather forecast. This will help limit confusion and help your family plan for how your children will be cared for when their school, kindergarten or child care centre is closed.
- Advice will be provided to you directly by your school, kindergarten or child care centre.
When a school or children's service is closed for bushfire, no staff will remain on site and all out-of-school care programs (including vacation, before and after school programs) will not operate. The final decision to close a school or children’s service will be confirmed no later than midday the day before the planned closure. This decision will not change, irrespective of an improvement in the weather forecast. No child should be left at home alone or in the care of siblings on high-fire danger days.

 School bus transport
If a bus route is threatened by unexpected fire, the school will enact its local emergency management plan.
Information on changes to bus routes or cancellation of services will be provided by your school and via this website.

Off-site activities
The safety of students and staff is paramount
and off-site activities may be cancelled, postponed or relocated if faced with the threat of bushfire.
Off-site activities include any activity undertaken by staff and children away from their normal school facility and can include camps, excursions, sporting activities and training or conferences for staff.  

Code Red Day FAQs:

What is a ‘planned closure’?
Schools and children’s services identified as being at high-risk of bushfires will be pre-emptively closed on days declared by fire authorities as being a Code Red Fire Danger Rating.

Why is our school pre-emptively closing?
Where schools and children’s services are at high risk, the safest option for staff, students and children is to close.

Who makes the decision to close our school?
The decision to pre-emptively close schools and children’s services is made by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development based on warnings issued by the Bureau of Meteorology and in consultation with fire and emergency services.

How will I know if our school or children’s service is likely to close this fire season?
Schools or children’s services considered to be at risk have been included on a Bushfire At-Risk Register and informed of that inclusion. Further information on the register is available from this website.

How much notice will I have if my school or children’s service will be closed?
It is intended that, families will be provided with as much notice as possible of a planned closure. However if unexpected weather patterns are experienced closures may happen on short notice.
The final decision to close a school or children’s service will be confirmed no later than midday the day before the planned closure.
Families are encouraged to ensure that their bushfire survival plan always includes alternative care arrangements for children in the event of a planned closure. No child should be left at home alone.

Who will tell me that our school will be closed?
You will be informed via note, text message and/or telephone from school. Information will also be published on this DEECD website.

What happens if the forecast changes?
If the Bureau of Meteorology or the CFA downgrades the risk forecast in the lead-up to a planned closure, the closure may be cancelled and the school or children’s service will be allowed to remain open.
The final decision to pre-emptively close a school will be confirmed no later than midday the day before the planned closure.
Once the decision to close has been confirmed, there will be no change – regardless of improvements to the weather conditions the following afternoon or overnight – this will help limit confusion and provide time for parents to make alternative care arrangements for their children.

What should my school-age child do if our school is closed?
Families are encouraged to ensure that their bushfire survival plans include alternative care arrangements for children in the event of a planned closure. Given the expected severity of the weather conditions, children should not be left unattended or under the supervision of older children.

Is it likely that my school or children’s service will be closed for consecutive days? If yes, how will I know?
It is possible that schools and children’s services will be closed for consecutive days. Information about ongoing closures will be published on this website.
It is also anticipated that closures will be announced on ABC local radio. Wherever possible, schools and children’s service facilities will directly contact families.

On average, how many days does the Government predict that schools and children’s services will need to close?
While it is not possible to provide the exact number of days, advice from the CFA and the Bureau of Meteorology suggests that schools and children’s services in high fire risk areas could expect to close an average of 0-3 days a year.
In some years, there may be no days and more in other years.

When my school is closed, will any staff remain on site?
No. The safety of staff and children is our main priority. Schools and children’s services have been advised that no-one should be allowed to remain on-site when their facility is closed due to high-fire danger risk.

Will there be circumstances where my school or children’s service is closed but nearby facilities remain open? Generally it is expected that most schools and children’s services in high-risk areas will close on Code Red fire danger days. There may be some exceptions to this, including:
- The characteristics of a particular school would lead it to stay open when others are closed.
- Children’s services are not generally owned or run by the Government. Those services may make their own decisions to close before receiving a request from the Government.

Can I keep my child away from school if I’m concerned about the risk of fires - even if my school or children’s service remains open?
Absolutely. If your family decides to enact its bushfire survival plan, the most appropriate place for your child may be with you and your family, and not at school or in child care. However please advise your school or childcare provider as soon as possible of your child’s absence.

My child travels by bus to or from school. Will bus routes be closed on high-risk fire days?
Yes. Bus routes passing through high-risk areas or routes operated by schools in high-risk locations will be closed on high-risk fire days.
A school bus route will be closed if it has to pass through an area affected by fire even if the associated school is not affected by fire and remains open.
If a bus route is threatened by unexpected fire, the school will enact its local emergency management plan.

Will school off-site activities (e.g. camps and excursions) continue to operate during bushfire season? What happens if my child’s off-site activity is threatened by fire? Yes, off-site activities will continue throughout the year as they are an important part of school programs. Chum Creek Primary School will assess the likely threat of fire when organising off-site activities during the bushfire season.
If an off-site activity is threatened by fire, your school will enact its emergency management plan. Off-site activities in areas affected by a predicted Code Red day will be cancelled or recalled.

What else can I do?
- Review and update your family bushfire survival plan
- Keep in touch with your facility and keep your contact details current. This is most important,
- Regularly check this DEECD website
- Look out for more information about activities your local community is planning
- Refer to the CFA website