The new year is a great time to reassess and ramp up your child care program’s emergency preparedness plans. Ready.gov encourages families to Resolve to Be Ready and we would like to help child care programs be ready in 2021 as well.
Child Care Emergency Preparedness
Child care emergency preparedness is important because we know that emergencies happen every day. As a child care provider, you must be prepared and ready for anything that might come your way. With proper planning and practice, you can ensure that the children in your care (as well as you and your staff) are safe should disaster strike. Readiness also helps families feel informed and reassured when leaving their children in your care.
Child Care Emergency Preparedness Checklist
Use the checklist below to make sure your child care program is prepared for any disaster or emergency that might occur this year.
- Write or update your written all-hazards emergency plan. Be sure to include a schedule for practice drills.
- Ensure staff and program volunteers are trained on the emergency plan and processes.
- Make sure you take extra steps to meet the unique needs of infants and toddlers.
- Sign up for emergency alerts to get important information from public safety officials.
- Identify your local emergency manager and make them aware of your child care program.
- Determine your schedule for checking the contents of your emergency supply kit to make sure everything is fully stocked and ready and matches the needs of the children who are currently enrolled in your program.
- Consider how your emergency preparations might be affected by COVID-19.
- Learn how to turn off the utilities at your child care business, including water, electricity, and gas.
- Establish an emergency fund.
- Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage for your child care program.
- Learn about business continuity planning for child care.
- Check the outdoor air quality in your area regularly and know when it is unsafe to take children outdoors.
- Be sure you’re prepared to support the social emotional needs of the children in your care.
- Encourage staff to practice self-care. Don’t forget to practice it yourself as well!
- Share information with parents about your emergency plan and why emergency preparedness is important.
Once you have reviewed the checklist, decide what steps you need to take to ensure your child care program is prepared in case of an emergency. Contact your local CCR&R and regulatory agency for help with child care emergency preparedness planning.
The Child Care Aware® of America Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery team collects stories from child care providers who experience emergencies to share lessons learned. If you experience an emergency in your child care program, please share the story so others can benefit from your experience.
Participate in the FEMA Lunch and Learn Webinar Series, Resolve to be Ready: Ten Steps to Preparedness for more actionable steps you can take to be prepared.
Child Care Aware® of America Resources
- Caring for Children in a Disaster (CDC)
- Early Childhood Disaster-Related Resources for Early Childhood Education Providers (OHS)
- Emergency Preparedness Manual for Early Childhood Programs (National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness)
- Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Resources for Child Care Programs (Child Care State Capacity Building Center)
- CCDF Health and Safety Requirements Brief #6: Emergency Preparedness and Response Planning (National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance)
- Caring for Our Children 188.8.131.52: Disaster Planning, Training, and Communication
- HealthyChildren.org (AAP)
- Disaster Distress Helpline (SAMHSA): 1-800-985-5990