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Seven young children wearing backpacks standing in a school hallway with arms linked.

I'm done emergency planning now, right?

You have your plan in place, but have you practiced it? As part of licensing and ICCP requirements, child care providers have been asked to regularly practice evacuation (fire drills), shelter-in-place, safe-place (from an intruder), and relocation drills. Evacuation drills should be practiced at least monthly, while the other three drills should be practiced at least quarterly. Be sure to communicate your drills days to parents so they understand when children come home and say, "Today we stayed in the bathroom."

Hopefully, you never have to experience an emergency such as the ones above. However, if you have regularly practiced the emergency drills, the children will be more likely to automatically repeat the process without becoming frazzled. If teachers and staff are calm during the emergency, children are more likely to stay calm. And that will decrease the likelihood and intensity of injuries. After you practice, analyze what worked and what didn't, then adjust your steps and assigned responsibilities if needed.


Acing your Fire Drill


Time to restock

Have you checked your emergency preparedness kit lately? Parents can send in supplies for their child in a large zippered baggie when the new school year starts. Basics to include in your kit include are:

  • Important documents such as parent medical permissions and contact numbers
  • Prescription medications
  • Water
  • 3-day supply of non-perishable food
  • NOAA weather radio and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Local maps for out-of-neighborhood relocation if necessary
  • Matches (in waterproof container)
  • Blankets
  • Manual can opener (if needed)
  • Extra change of clothes (based on climate)
  • Sanitizing wipes, diapers, baby food, formula
  • Dust masks or washclothes
  • Whistle, bell, bullhorn (to signal for help)
  • Sanitation
  • Battery-operated/crank flashlight
  • Cellphone and charger
  • Books, games, or other activities for children
  • Tape and coverings for sheltering in place


Emergency Supply Kit POSTER (PDF)


Update Your Plan Every Six Months

Short- and long-term changes are part of life. Remember to update plans to reflect:

  • Staff changes/turnover
  • Children/family changes
  • Critical information changes - Phone numbers, addresses, emergency contacts and pick-up
  • Program demographic changes - Program size, age groups, children, or staff with special needs
  • Program/facilities changes
  • Regulations or standards changes


Handling Emergencies

Whether you're preparing for the unexpected or recovering from it, your reassurance and comfort hold great power to soothe children even on the scariest, toughest days. Follow the link below for printables, videos, and more.


Sesame Street in Communities