- Describe what matters most when it comes to emergency preparedness and response.
- Identify management practices to ensure staff members are prepared to handle emergency situations.
- Apply the content of this lesson to ensure staff are prepared to respond to emergencies.
Types of Disasters
This lesson will discuss three types of disasters: natural disasters, terrorism and pandemics. As a facility manager, you have three key responsibilities regardless of disaster type. Your job is to plan, prepare and protect. There are safety measures that are common regardless of the type of disaster, but there are also disaster-specific safety measures.
Your actions during an emergency create an atmosphere of stability and security. Children and youth are particularly vulnerable and count on you to take all emergencies seriously and handle them effectively in accordance with yourPUBLIC program’s policies.
The type of natural disaster that you are likely to encounter is mostly dependent on the area in which your program is located. For example, if your program is located in California, it would be important that you and your staff are prepared for earthquakes. Natural disasters include: floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, ice storms, earthquakes, wildfires, extreme heat waves, and tsunamis. As a result of these natural disasters, there are secondary emergencies, such as natural gas explosions and power and water outages, which compound the difficulties. In the case of a natural disaster, you might have to evacuate your facility and possibly relocate to another location.
Planning for Natural Disasters
Preparing for Natural Disasters
Protecting Everyone During and After Natural Disasters
Hurricane Katrina provides a good example of how important planning and preparation are for dealing with the devastation of a natural disaster. Hopefully, those painful memories provide everyone with a better understanding of how best to handle the aftermath of such terrible acts of nature.
Planning for Acts of Terrorism
Acts of terrorism can be against individuals or groups and include either threats or actual acts such as bombings, shootings, kidnapping, hijacking, and the use of biological weapons. Depending on the circumstances, you would most likely shelter-in-place when there are threats or acts of terrorism.
Preparing for Acts of Terrorism
Protecting Everyone During and After Acts of Terrorism
Everyone who is old enough will remember where they were on 9/11. Our world as we knew it was forever changed. 9/11 is an example of an external act of violence. The most important thing to do after an act of violence of any kind is to return to some sense of normalcy as quickly as possible. This can be very difficult, as everyone handles these tragic events differently.
Pandemics are the rapid spread of severe and potentially deadly illnesses. Swine flu, or H1N1, is an example. Pandemics could result in a mandatory closing by an installation commander.
Planning for Pandemics
Preparing for Pandemics
Protecting Everyone During and After Pandemics
Besides keeping children, youth and staff safe on a daily basis, there is no more important job as a facility manager than being prepared for emergencies. While you have a very full plate, it's never too full to take care of the planning and preparation for emergency situations as they could strike at any time. If ever your program is involved in an emergency situation, you want to know that if it weren't for your planning and preparation, it could have been a lot worse. The people you protect today will thank you tomorrow.
Watch this video on why being prepared matters.
The key to dealing with emergencies is to be well prepared. Use the following Emergency Planning document to assess your preparedness using the criteria from your PUBLIC program’s policies.
Visit the Child Care Aware site at https://www.childcareaware.org/library/ to get planning ideas about specific conditions in your locale. .
Emergency Planning (Public)
Taking the information from the Explore activity, develop an action plan for ensuring you and your staff are prepared for the criteria you assessed as "Somewhat prepared" and "Not prepared." Identify tasks to be completed, the staff members responsible, action steps to be taken, and timeframes for completion.
Preparing For Disaster, What Every Early Childhood Director Needs To Know, Cathy Grace and Elizabeth Shores, 2010
American Academy of Pediatrics (no date). Children & Disasters: Disaster preparedness to meet children's needs. Preparing Child Care Programs for Pandemic Influenza. Retrieved from https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Children-and-Disasters/Pages/Preparing-Child-Care-Programs-for-Pandemic-Influenza.aspx
Federal Emergency Management Agency www.fema.gov - http://www.ready.gov
Child Care Aware (formerly National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies) www.childcareaware.org
The Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness (2012). Emergency Family Assistance Centers: An Examination of the Literature for Evidence-Informed Practices. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University.
Sesame Street: Let's Get Ready for Emergencies www.sesamestreet.org/parents/topicsandactivities/toolkits/ready