I have “little people” (also known as my children) that are, quite naturally, the center of my world. And much to my dismay, I leave the youngest of those wee ones at daycare all day long so that I can work for “the man” and get a paycheck. This seems to be my lot in life, and although it isn’t what I prefer, it is my situation. Now, if you have ever had children in daycare, you know that when you interview these people you certainly try to ask every conceivable question. You, of course, ask if all the teachers know CPR. You ask if all employees have undergone a background check and hopefully you asked them to describe just what they think a “background check” consists of. But did you ask about their emergency plan? Do you know whether or not your childcare facility has an occupant emergency plan? Do you know how what their preparedness supplies consist of? How much food and water do they have stored? Does the facility have a generator? If so, do they store enough fuel for it to be effective?
I just came across a great study completed by Save the Children.org. Apparently for the past four years, they have done a study across all 50 states and the District of Columbia regarding each state’s level of emergency preparedness as it relates to childcare centers. They were specifically looking for answers to the following questions:
- Does the state require a child care evacuation plan?
- Is there a required plan to notify parents and reunite families after disaster?
- Do the evacuation requirements account for children with special needs?
- Does the state require a multi-hazard emergency plan for schools?
You can see the page at:
The whole report, which is only eight pages, can be viewed at:
The thing to keep in mind is that you are entitled to ask these types of questions. No matter how much you prepare at home, if you utilize any form of childcare, you have to acknowledge that your little people may not be with you when disaster strikes. Be bold when demanding that your school prepare for your children’s needs during an emergency. They should have these answers and they shouldn’t be a secret. Make sure your children’s teachers know the plan as well and that they practice regularly.
Lastly, if your child has special needs, make sure their caregivers are prepared to attend to their functional and access needs in the event of an emergency. Exercises and drills need to ensure teachers and staff are actually practicing with any specialized equipment they may require.
Take a look at this study. Share it with your friends and family across our nation. Some states have laws that require childcare facilities to account for emergency preparedness planning, while others are lagging behind in this legislation. If you find that your state is has not required this level of protection for your children you need to start demanding it from not only the childcare facility but from your state lawmakers as well. Take care.
(Tonight’s post is dedicated to Turner, for all the nights of “Oh Precious”. They are gone but not forgotten.)