Safety, emergency plans and evacuation exercises

The operator of a retirement village must ensure that the village is secure. This page explains their obligations.

Emergency plans

Retirement villages must have an emergency plan.

This is a written set of instructions that outlines what staff, residents and visitors in the village should do in an emergency. It should be easy to understand and tailored to the particular retirement village.

The plan must include emergency procedures, including:

  • an effective response to an emergency
  • evacuation procedures
  • notifying emergency service organisations at the earliest opportunity
  • medical treatment and assistance, and
  • effective communication between the operator and all residents in the village.

The operator must take reasonable steps to ensure that residents and staff are familiar with the procedures. The emergency plans must be reviewed at least every 12 months.

Annual evacuation exercises

The operator of a retirement village must ensure that an evacuation exercise for residents is carried out at least once each calendar year.

While operators can't force residents to participate in annual evacuation exercises, they should seek to actively promote participation. The greater the participation, the more prepared the village will be in an emergency.

Key safety information

Operators must provide all residents with the following safety information for their residential premises:

  • a map indicating the location of assembly areas, exits and fire extinguishers
  • any other emergency equipment, and
  • instructions for evacuating residents and staff in a fire or other emergency.

This safety information must be displayed in communal areas and provided to residents. The key safety information provided to residents must be tailored for each resident's circumstances. This includes:

  • the individual resident’s mobility including any impairments, or any circumstances affecting their ability to evacuate or respond to an emergency situation, and
  • the location of the resident’s residential premises or unit - different residences may have separate assembly areas or emergency equipment.

Further information can be found in the Emergency Plans and Evacuation Exercises Guideline (PDF, 90.82 KB).

Annual safety inspection

Operators need to do a safety inspection each year and prepare a report on the findings. A copy of that report needs to go to the residents committee, on the notice board in a communal area and to any resident who requests it.

Access by emergency and care services

The operator must make sure that emergency and home care service providers’ vehicles can access the residential premises at all times.

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