Fire and security solutions to safeguard childcare facilities  

Childcare centres have unique requirements when it comes to fire and security. With more than 870,000 children attending childcare facilities across Australia, these service providers have a legal and ethical responsibility to ensure the safety of children in their care at all times, including preventing the risk of a fire or security breech.                                                                                                                                  

Childcare operators are also bound by laws and regulations which must also be considered as part of their duty of care. One of the most effective ways to protect childcare centres is to conduct a comprehensive fire and security audit annually to review the premises and upgrade solutions if required.

Engaging a fire and security professional with experience in the childcare industry can help provide valuable advice to ensure the facility is not only safe and secure, but is adhering to strict regulations and standards.

A monitored fire and security system can be one of the most effective ways to protect childcare facilities. It not only keeps watch over children and staff during operating hours, it will also monitor the premises after hours when the centre is unattended. A monitored fire and security system can include a monitored security alarm, CCTV cameras, interconnected smoke alarms, and an access control system that are all monitored around the clock by a team of fire and security personnel. Before appointing a monitoring company, ensure that it is a certified company with the capability to respond to afterhours activations 24/7.

To help childcare operators Tyco Integrated Fire & Security, operating under the leading brands of ADT Security and Wormald, has the following advice:

  • Consider installing an access control system to prevent unauthorised visitors from entering the premises, and limit access by personnel or parents to certain areas within the centre.  An access control system can also provide the centre with detailed records, e.g. a record of when parents drop off or collect their children.  Access control can also be used to monitor vehicle and garage entry points and deliveries.
  • CCTV cameras can provide enhanced security for staff and children, and added reassurance for parents that their children are in a safe place. Cameras should be positioned at the entry and exit points, as well as the external perimeter to enable after-hours monitoring.  The cameras can be monitored from multiple locations from a single point, or through a purpose built security response centre overseen by trained operators.
  • Conduct regular fire and security audits in and around the facility.  Check the boundaries to ensure fences and gates are secure, trees and shrubs are kept trimmed and any moveable play equipment is put away at the end of each day.  Also consider installing sensor lights where appropriate and encourage neighbouring residents to report any suspicious behaviour.
  • Do not leave money on site and place signage to this effect on entry doors.  Keys should also not be kept on the premises.
  • Ensure smoke alarms are present in all areas where children sleep and play, as well as other key areas within the facility.  Smoke alarms must be tested, serviced and maintained by a certified fire technician.  Battery operated smoke alarms must be tested every six months and batteries replaced annually.
  • Appropriate fire equipment must be installed throughout the property including sprinklers, hose reels, fire extinguishers and fire blankets.  They must also be regularly maintained in accordance with building codes and industry standards.  A professional fire technician can provide valuable advice and maintenance, e.g. assess fire extinguishers requirements such as dry powder, CO², foam.  They can also undertake testing to ensure the yellow plastic service tags around the neck of the extinguishers are kept up to date as per AS 1841.
  • Check that exit routes are well marked and clear at all times.  This includes checking the exit lights are working properly.  It is also important to ensure that firefighting equipment is not blocked and is easily accessible.  Appropriate signage should be clearly visible to indicate fire exits and fire equipment. 

Most importantly, when assessing the fire and security needs of any childcare centre, it is vital that all full time and casual staff members are competently trained to respond in an emergency, that they understand the centre’s fire and security evacuation procedures, and know how to use the correct firefighting equipment.   

For more information about fire and security solutions for the childcare industry please call 131 005 or visit www.adtsecurity.com.au and www.wormald.com.au

Our Brands