Approximately 200 government schools in high-risk areas around Victoria will have their bushfire shelter areas audited and upgraded in the coming months under a $10 million state government program.
Under the program, upgrades to the fire shelter areas will include vegetation removal, gutter cleaning, and the installation of gutter guards, door and window fire shutters, water tanks and sprinklers.
Bushfire preparation audits have been completed at 51 high-priority schools with work underway to make sure they are ready for the first day of term one this year.
Forty more schools will have their shelters audited in February, with the final 109 school audits completed by June.
Acting Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino visited Billanook Primary School in the Dandenong Ranges this week to inspect its bushfire shelter area, which will be audited and upgraded as part of the program.
“We’re making sure Victorian students living in high bushfire risk areas are safer at school with these vital bushfire safety upgrades,” he said in a statement.
“Every Victorian government school has a place to shelter from bushfires as a last resort, and this program will make sure the shelters at 200 schools in the highest fire risk areas are even safer.”
These bushfire safety upgrades – combined with the newly funded school emergency SMS service and existing school emergency plans like closing on Code Red days and off-site evacuation protocols – mean students in Victoria’s high bushfire risk areas are safer at school.
The 200 schools receiving bushfire safety upgrades are at http://www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/Pages/Bushfire-Risk-and-Readiness.aspx.