One constant in child care is that it can be very unpredictable. We spend an extraordinary amount of time planning—budget planning, staffing planning, lesson planning, etc. Even then, there are just some things that can’t be planned. All we can do is to have plans in place for how to handle the unexpected.
One important plan that we need to have is an Emergency Evacuation Plan. We hope that we never have to leave the safety of our building, but if we must, we need to have a way in place to make sure that everyone gets out safely and that we have plans for what happens after that.
Once the decision is made to evacuate the building, the staff, children, and parents need to know:
- What is the path for evacuation?
- What goes and what stays?
- Where will everyone meet?
- How we will know everyone has been evacuated?
- Who contacts the emergency authorities?
- Who determines if and when it is safe to re-enter the building?
- Where will we go (and how will we get there) if the building is not safe to re-enter?
- How will parents be notified?
Having all of these questions answered, and these techniques practiced before an emergency occurs will help make sure things go smoothly if it ever does. If you don’t already have an Emergency Evacuation Policy, check ours out here.