Emergency Guide

A guide for parents, whānau and caregivers to prepare and plan for emergency events at an early learning service or school.

During an emergency event

Different actions may take place when a school or early learning service activates their Emergency Management Plan.


What happens?

  • Everyone will move to the evacuation assembly point.
  • The assembly point could be onsite or nearby.

Why you might ‘evacuate’

  • Because it’s safer at the assembly point. For example, there may be a tsunami threat.

Shelter in place

What happens?

  • Everyone stays inside for their safety.

Why there might be a ‘shelter in place’

  • NZ Police are operating in the area.
  • There’s no direct threat but caution is needed.


What happens?

  • Everyone must stay inside.

Why there might be a 'lockdown'

  • There’s a high-risk situation onsite or close by.
  • The NZ Police instructs your early learning service or school to go into lockdown.

Keep calm

You might feel unsettled if your early learning service or school needs to activate its Emergency Management Plan.

By keeping calm, you’ll help ensure the response to the emergency is as smooth as possible.

Remember that the Emergency Management Plan:

  • helps keep everyone safe during emergency events
  • is tailored to the unique needs of your early learning service or your school
  • provides clear instructions on what to do in different emergency events. 

How you can help:

  • Stay away until you have officially been told it is safe. Arriving onsite too early could interfere with the emergency response. You might also put more people in danger. 
  • If your child contacts you, be calm. Encourage them to follow the directions of staff.
  • Follow any instructions that are relevant to you in the Emergency Management Plan.

Stay Connected

The early learning service or school will communicate with you when it is safe to do so. They will provide you with accurate information as quickly as possible.

How you can stay connected: 

  • Check your early learning service or school’s website and/or social media channels.
  • Check your emails and/or text messages.
  • Keep connected with other parents in your community.
  • Only contact the early learning service or school if:
    • you haven’t received any messages, and
    • other parents also do not know what is happening.
  • Be aware that information coming from other sources may not always be accurate.
  • Everyone’s safety is the school or early learning service’s priority. They will respond to communications when they can.

Collect when safe

The early learning service or school will take responsibility for your child’s care until it’s safe for you to pick them up.

Your early learning service or school will have a plan in place to reunite you with your child.

When to collect your child: 

  • Your early learning service or school will let you know when it’s safe to collect your child.
  • The pick-up location may be different depending on the event. Check the Emergency Management Plan to know your pick-up for different types of emergency events.

After the event

After an emergency you or your child may experience levels of distress. This usually reduces over time as you will return to your usual routines.

  • If your child’s wellbeing has been impacted by an event, please talk with your early learning service or school. They know how to seek help from the Ministry of Education or other support providers.

Getting ready for an emergency

You have a role in preparing for an emergency event.

Prepare and make a plan:

  • Read the Emergency Management Plan. 
  • Make sure anyone with authority to pick up your child knows what to do if the Emergency Management Plan is activated. 
  • Keep your emergency contacts up to date. 
  • If your child has additional needs (e.g. medication) make sure your early learning service or school knows and this is noted in the Emergency Management Plan. 
  • Understand how your early learning service or school will communicate in the event of an emergency. 
  • Talk to your school or early learning service to find out where your pick-up points could be for different events. 
  • Take note of the contact details for your local Police, or other emergency services e.g. Civil Defence. 
  • If you have more questions, make an appointment to speak with your early learning service’s manager, or your child’s teacher.


Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Tell us what you think.