LisaHillSchoolStuff's Weblog

'If students can't learn the way we teach, we must teach the way they learn' (Ignacio Estrada, via Tomlinson)

Catastrophic Fire Danger Days

Posted by Lisa Hill on November 19, 2009

Well now I’ve heard everything!  I read in The Age today, that there’s concern that schools might not be able to notify parents if schools are to close on days of Code Red Catastrophic Fire Danger.   This is because the  Bureau of Meteorology Fire Danger Rating, which determines whether a school in an at-risk area closes, would be declared twice a day – at 5am and about 5pm.  So schools may not know until then that the school – for the safety of students and staff – MUST be closed.  Brian Burgess, president of the Victorian Association of State Secondary Schools Principals  was quoted as saying that there was no way a high school could shut on such short notice.

What utter nonsense!  School communities are in the same location as the families that attend there.  And even if some students travel some distance from the school, every parent has a responsibility to monitor these fire danger ratings on a daily basis.  These warnings will be broadcast in the media well before any child sets off for school in the morning, and any family in the same at-risk area as the school ought to have enacted its bushfire safety plan anyway.  It is not the school’s responsibility to notify people that there’s a catastrophic fire danger rating for the day!

We have seen what happens when people rely on getting personalised warnings about bushfire danger.  Every parent in Victoria ought to know the potential risk to the school their child attends.  Check the  Bushfire At-Risk Register if you don’t.  Every Victorian has a responsibility to monitor those daily warnings for their area or any area they plan to travel to,  and to share the information with anyone who is vulnerable.

Click this link for Victorian Forecast Areas.

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