Important Safety Drills for Child Care Providers

Important Safety Drills For Child Care Providers

Safety is every child care professional's top priority. Unfortunately, many child care facilities don't take the steps they need to take to ensure safety. 

69 million children attend a child care or school facility. However, 41 percent of parents don't know where their children evacuate to during an emergency. Nearly 80 percent of recommendations from national commissions on child safety have gone unfulfilled.

It is absolutely essential to have safety drills for child care providers. But many providers don't know where to start.

Break down the kinds of drills you need. Then conceive of a comprehensive emergency disaster plan. Here is your quick guide. 

Emergency and Evacuation Drills

The National Resource Center for Health and Safety sets guidelines for evacuation drills. They require every child care and education program to have a written policy covering all potential emergencies.

While emergency preparedness is important, you do not want to traumatize children. Tell them that the odds that they will be in a fire or flood are low.

But tell them it is important to have a plan. Give clear details to them on what to do. This will increase their confidence and sense of control. 

Evacuation Emergencies

Evacuation emergencies involve evacuating out of the building. It is safe to move outside, and the building itself may pose a danger to the people inside.

The most common evacuation emergency is a fire. Even a small fire can produce lethal smoke.

It is important to practice multiple fire scenarios. Many fire drills involve a fire that occurs in a hallway or in another part of a building. But people should also practice evacuating from a fire that occurs in their room.

Floods can occur when water from outside flows in. Schools along shorelines should practice for such an event. But they can also occur when a water line or pipe breaks.

A gas leak or chemical spill may be invisible. A person may only detect the odor of a chemical.

But either gas or chemicals can cause a fire or explosion that can prove fatal. Children should be advised on how to evacuate. 

Shelter-in-Place Emergencies

Shelter-in-place emergencies occur when a threat is outside the building. Adults and children remain in their rooms, or they head to a safe spot somewhere inside.

Tornadoes can create devastating winds and throw debris that can destroy walls and entire rooms. If your building is in a tornado zone, you should have a basement or low-lying area where people can gather. Practice moving through the building while avoiding windows.

Earthquakes can topple walls and knock objects down. People should practice dropping to the floor and moving under a sturdy object like a desk.

A threatening person can appear outside a building. People should practice backing away from windows and turning off the lights.

Tornadoes can create devastating winds and throw debris that can destroy walls and entire rooms. If your building is in a tornado zone, you should have a basement or low-lying area where people can gather. Practice moving through the building while avoiding windows.
Earthquakes can topple walls and knock objects down. People should practice dropping to the floor and moving under a sturdy object like a desk.

A threatening person can appear outside a building. People should practice backing away from windows and turning off the lights. 

Lockdown Emergencies

Lockdown emergencies occur when a threat is inside the building. In addition to remaining in rooms, inhabitants must lock the doors and place up a barricade.

Intruders can enter a building at any time. Doors to all rooms should have locks. If an intruder tries to enter a room, the adults should do whatever they must to keep the children safe.

Dangerous animals are less common than intruders. Yet a bite from an animal can cause blood loss and infectious diseases. Like with an intruder, adults should lock doors and keep the animal from getting inside. 


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Develop An Emergency Disaster Plan

An emergency disaster plan serves as the foundation for your evacuation drills. It delegates responsibilities and provides resources that cover any emergency. There are several factors you should consider when developing one.

You must practice your safety drills on a regular basis. The ideal is every month.

Try to have the drills be a little unpredictable. Vary the days on which you have them. Children may not take them seriously if they can see them ahead of time.

For evacuation emergencies, choose a safe meeting spot outside of your center. Tell all children and adults to head there. It can be interior or exterior, but it must be a location that everyone can reach.

You should compile information on all children at your center. Include their name, physical appearance, and contact information for their families. Make sure you know how to contact parents effectively.

Attendance records should be available to all staffers. It is essential to know who is in your building at all times.

Collect emergency supplies like first-aid kits and blankets. You should also ask parents to give their children a small kit. If a child has a medical condition, the kit should include medications like EpiPens.

Everyone should know what the plan is. Staffers should attend a mandatory seminar educating them on all of these details. You should give them a guide on protecting children during emergencies that they can take home.

Children should have their own seminars. Safety information should be available within classrooms so they can review what to do.

Consult with local emergency responders on your plan. Take their advice into consideration. Make sure everyone involved is on board with basic child safety tips.

Adopt Safety Drills For Child Care Providers

Safety drills for child care providers must be thorough. Yet their fundamentals are easy to grasp.

Every child care facility should prepare for evacuation emergencies like fires. They should distinguish between shelter-in-place and lockdown situations. Doors should be lockable and adults should move to defend children.

Every facility must adopt a systemic plan in writing. They should choose a meeting spot and inform parents of it. They should collect emergency supplies.

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