Preparing for Emergencies
Prepare now for possible emergencies. When it comes to dealing with crisis situations, having a plan is extremely helpful.
Emergency planning involves thinking about the hazards that could pose problems where you are, then making plans for handling each one of them.
You need a plan to notify families about the emergency as well as to summon emergency help for the problem.
Some emergencies require that you shelter-in-place. For this, pick an appropriate area of your building and set it up to serve if needed. Consider security issues, including screening all people who come into your building to be sure they do not pose a threat to the children and staff. Even family members should be screened to be sure they are not impaired, and are behaving appropriately when they enter the building.
Review your emergency plans with the local emergency management professionals in your community to be sure you have thought of all the elements that fit your situation.
- Maintain up-to-date emergency supplies. Set a monthly schedule for checking and replenishing your supplies. Try to store additional supplies at an alternate site to have what you need if you cannot return to your home or building.
- Maintain an up-to-date first aid kit. Set a monthly schedule for checking and replenishing the kit. Pack the kit in a tight-closing, clean container.
- Plan two exit routes from every area of the building. Post emergency evacuation exit instructions in every room where they can be seen easily.
- Post emergency telephone numbers and a copy of emergency procedures beside every telephone. Every caregiver should be familiar with these numbers and know what to do in an emergency. If you don’t already have an emergency telephone list, use the Healthy Child Care form as a template.
Special Advice for Group Care Settings
- First aid kits: –Keep at least one first aid kit available at all times, including during neighborhood walks and trips.
- Keep kits near the kitchen, playground, and other high-risk areas.
- Store kits out of the reach of children but easily accessible in case of an emergency.
- Inspects the kits each month, checking supplies against a list of contents for the kits and keeping a record of the inspections.
- Record the daily attendance of staff and children. If the child care center needs to be evacuated, have a staff member bring the list and check for each child to ensure that no one is left behind.
- Collect an emergency contact form from the parents of each child and keep the forms together in one location. The forms should include contact information for each child’s parents, doctor, and a backup emergency contact person in case the child’s parents cannot be reached.
- Assign one person the role of Emergency Leader. If an accident or emergency happens, this person should be contacted as soon as possible. The Emergency Leader will take charge of the emergency, assess the situation, and give further help and guidance as needed.
- Know where to go if the building has to be evacuated. Arrange for an emergency shelter where you will take the children, and stock it with supplies. Also arrange for a second, remote emergency location where children and staff can go if the first location is unsafe. Inform parents by letter about the emergency locations and how they will be notified if an emergency occurs.