Child care settings must safeguard each child in care. All staff should be prepared to deal with any emergency that may happen during child care in order to minimize the effects of such events. Regular practice of emergency drills is essential to that responsibility and promotes calm, competent use of plans in an emergency such turnover of both staff and children, in addition to the changes in developmental abilities of children who participate in frequent practice drills critical.
Procedure and Practices including responsible person(s). Director, Teaching Staff, should at least monthly initiate an Emergency Evacuation Drill which will include all children in care, all staff, and any other person who may be on the premises at the time. All drills will be conducted as if there were a real emergency taking place.
At least once a year Kidz Go Eco shall have a representative of local emergency or Disaster Planning Services observe a drill, and seek input for possible improvements to the facility’s procedures, including the education of all children in care on what to do in the different crisis situations. Such input shall be taken into account during the annual review of this policy.
Following every Emergency Evacuation Drill, Kidz Go Eco shall complete an entry regarding the drill on the Emergency Evacuations Drill Log. Any problems or errors occurring during each drill will be noted, addressed, and corrected immediately.
When this policy applies:
At varied times and places, using all building exits, and during all types of activities (meals and nap times included) and weather conditions, throughout the year while child care is being provided.
What this Emergency Preparedness Policy Includes:
- Communication with parents
- Emergency closing
- Safe place (sometimes called “Lock Down”)
- Continued operations
- Planning for vulnerable children
- Providing support after a crisis
After the Emergency
After the emergency is the time to REAP the benefits: Recover, Evaluate, and Plan.
Recovery means to return to normal operations. This may be a long-term process depending on the damages incurred. However, it is important to get back up and running as quickly as possible. We would need to be aware of the physical and mental health and safety of children and staff.
We put a lot of time and thought into preparing for an emergency. Now that we would have survived one, we would evaluate how our plan actually worked, and what would work better next time.
We would meet with our original planning partners and assess how each step in the plan worked for children, parents, staff, and local emergency officials.
Now is the time to plan for the next emergency.
- We would update and revise our emergency plan if our evaluation shows the need.
- We would restock the emergency supplies you used.
- We would involve parents in the planning process to update communications, reunification, and contact information.
- We would continue to stress that family preparedness is the best way to plan for the next emergency!
Code Green/Evacuation Plan
As soon as any staff member becomes aware of any situation with the potential for significant violence (bomb threat), or any unsafe situation that would result in an evacuation, the staff member shall immediately notify the Director and Lead Teachers by the fastest means possible (phone, radio, direct contact) and isolate the incident.
- Signal and announce evacuation: Code GREEN
- Emergency Kits/Emergency Information will be taken when the safety of children is not compromised.
- All children are safely evacuated; in case of the need to evacuate children through windows, children will be placed out of windows first, using any items available to place on ground.
- Call 911, identify yourself, identify crisis P.D. 284-4535 or F.D. 282-3244
- Take attendance to make sure all children are accounted for.
- Contact evacuation sites (Neighborhood, Out-of-Neighborhood, Out-of-Town)
- Parents will be notified of the evacuation
- Announcements will be made when possible on radio/tv/phone
- Transportation to evacuation locations, children will walk/be pushed in portable play yards, strollers, or children will be driven by all staff members in a crisis. All transportation safety measures will be taken to the best of our ability, but getting children to safety is our priority.
Walk all children to Kidz Go Eco playground by the EcoAvocado Trail (nature path). Teachers lead all children to evacuation destinations.
40 Flag Pond Rd.
Saco, ME 04072
36 Tasker St.
Saco, ME 04072
YMCA of Southern Maine-Biddeford
3 Pomerleau St.
Biddeford, ME 04005
Saco Bus Transportation: 284-5959
SBT has offered to re-locate our children to these evacuation sites in the event of an emergency; if their buses are available.
Evacuation Response Assignments:
- Red Emergency Crisis Binder & Emergency Number Binder: Lead Teachers
- Medical Bag & Epi Pen Bag: Teacher Assistants
- Activity Bag: Located in garage, a teacher can grab last after everyone is evacuated
Reunification is the process of reuniting children with their parent, guardian, or other person listed on the emergency pick-up list. Reunification is conducted after an emergency disrupts the normal dismissal process and regular dismissal procedures cannot be followed. Parents/guardians will be directed by KGE or public officials by phone, tv, radio, website, or other social media as soon as it’s SAFE.
- Parents/guardians will be provided information to evacuation site.
- Contact information for Director Miss Michelle 229-6440 (cell phone)
- Parent/guardian phone numbers are stored in Director’s cell phone, located in outside emergency bag and Emergency Contact Binder.
Children will only be released to parents/guardians and to emergency contacts on pick-up list (proper identification will be needed).
CODE RED/Lockdown/Safe Place Plan
Our mission is to provide a safe child care and preschool for our children, employees, and volunteers. Code Red outlines a procedure that is employed in the event that an intruder attempts to invoke harm to children, staff and volunteers at Kidz Go Eco.
How to Respond:
The first person that is aware of the situation, immediately directs nearby children/staff into their classroom or work areas that can be locked and then notifies the Director by phone, radio, cellphone, etc.
The Director or designated staff member announces “Code Red”. This will signal the activation of a LOCKDOWN. Director or designated staff member notifies police by calling 911 or direct line 284-4535 for police department.
- If doors are open, bring all children inside, lock all doors, and quickly move to SAFE PLACE ROOM.
- LOCK all doors to safe place room, close all windows, draw all shades, close all lights.
- Children, staff and visitors should remain in safe area away from windows and doors without talking until lockdown has concluded.
- Staff can use shelving, bookcase or any other heavy furniture to put in front of locked door to add additional barrier.
- Staff should take attendance to account for all students.
- Keep children calm.
- If any children or staff member is unaccounted for, notify the Director or other designated staff member upon completion of lockdown.
- If a staff member was helping a child in the bathroom, we ask that the staff member tries to help the child and themselves and move quickly to the safe place room or to remain quietly in the bathroom with door shut until it is safe for them to exit.
- If children and staff members are on the playground and hear “Code Red”, we ask that staff gather children and assemble them behind the playground apparatus. Staff will stay with children until the “all clear signal” directive is given.
* In the event of a CODE RED/Lockdown/Safe Place Plan we will use the nationally accepted “RED BIRD PLAN” for our children. This plan has been used successfully for many years as a way of preparing children for dangerous situations in a developmentally appropriate way.
The classroom has a place designated as the RED BIRD NEST. The phrase “RED BIRDS FLY TO YOUR NEST” is the signal for children and teachers to go to the designated area. We will remain there until all clear signal is given. We will have a cellphone or landline, red emergency binder, lockdown kit is stored in room for water/snacks, porta-potty, doors will be locked in the room, shades will be drawn, attendance will be taken, and everyone will be crowded and a bit uncomfortable, but safe. All emergency numbers are located in lockdown kit as well. The plan is used as preventative and proactive response to anticipated emergencies. Due to the unpredictable nature of these types of situations, no guarantee of safety shall be implied through the use of the RED BIRD PLAN. However, the regular practice and training of staff will be a step in response to dangerous or threatening situations. We hope, as you do, to never have to use this plan in a real situation.
Emergency Supplies/Lockdown Kit:
In a short-term 72 hour emergency, we have supplies in eight basic categories that are stored in a large sturdy container called our “Lockdown Kit”:
- Important papers, emergency contact list
- Water (information on how to safely store water can be found in Appendix C)
- First Aid
- Comfort and Safety
Communication plan for parents
Parents In Case of School Emergency:
- We will make sure that parents know children are safe, what the nature of the emergency is, any changes in our relocation plan, or schedule if communication is available to us.
- Parents that have children with special needs or infants will be called first.
- Although your first reaction would be to call or rush to your child, please follow the tips listed below:
- Do not call or rush to your child’s child care or preschool. Phone lines and staff are needed for emergency response efforts.
- Tune in to the local TV/radio stations for official news alerts.
- Check KGE’s website, social media sites for updates.
- Rely only on official communication from child care/preschool or public safety officials.
- Listen for official communication regarding reunification with your child.
- All parents will receive a copy of this policy in this Parent Handbook upon their child’s enrollment. Written notification will be given of any updates.
- A copy of the Emergency Evacuation Drills Log will be posted where parents and staff can see Evacuation Drill Log.
- Staff and volunteers will receive a written copy of this policy in their Orientation Packets before beginning work.
There will be times when it is not safe for the children to come to the child care program, such as severe weather or power outages that occur before you open for the day, or the children may being the day at the child care program and then it becomes unsafe to stay due to an emergency situation. In order to reduce confusion when closing, it is important to have an emergency closing plan with which everyone is familiar. The Director will make the decision, then director and teaching staff will create a telephone tree to start reaching out to families as soon as possible using our emergency contact list that families provide us. We will take into consideration when it’s most wisest to close, such as listening to road reports, listening for severe weather updates, watching for local school closings, and monitor for any other local emergency situations.
Emergency Drills and Procedures Checklist Include
- Plan the drill
- Talk the drill
- Walk the drill
- Run the drill
- Evaluate the drill
Emergency “Missing Child”
- Teaching staff immediately conduct a thorough search of the immediate surroundings.
- Call 911 or Emergency Number
- Notify parents
- The Department of Human Services/Licensing Regulations will also be notified.
Emergency Transportation Permission Agreement
Parents will have an Emergency Transportation Permission Agreement Form inside their child’s enrollment packet giving KGE permission to have staff and teachers transport your child to an emergency relocation site if children were unsafe and couldn’t remain at the child care facility. Parents will need to understand that normal safety rules will be followed as much as possible, but the highest priority is to relocate to a safe location.
We hold fire drills once a month in order to prepare for emergency evacuations. Children are escorted out either the main entrance or by alternative exit needed to evacuate safely. In case of a split group we meet in the far corner of the property by the EcoAvocado Trail or by the playground. The teacher takes the red emergency binder, epi-pen bag, first aid kit, the land-line phone or cellphone, and makes sure everyone is accounted for by taking attendance. We use the emergency red binder that is by the door for evacuation, since this also holds our emergency numbers. In the event of a real fire or disaster, children will be taken to an off-site location or wherever instructed by Public Safety Personnel. Parents will be notified immediately or as soon as it is safe to do so.
All educators and staff at KGE are trained in infant/child CPR and first aid. All accidents or injuries requiring more first aid such as a band-aid or ice pack will be reported on an Accident Report Form. Parents are required to read, sign, and return form to your child’s teacher. Minor scrapes will be cleaned with soap and water, bruises and bumps treated with ice. Immediate care for more serious injuries will be referred to our child care Health Consultant or Rescue 911 will be called to transport a seriously injured child. Parents or their emergency contacts (in the event the parents cannot be reached) will be notified.
Please make sure your emergency phone numbers are up-to-date. You MUST have an alternative adult who can pick up your child if you cannot be reached. Parents must make arrangements to pick up a sick or injured child within a half hour. If your child is transported by rescue and 911 is called, we ask parents to fill out an Emergency Consent Form, which is in the enrollment packet.
To help prevent medical emergencies teaching staff:
- Make sure the play area is free of hazards.
- Supervise children closely at all times.
- Keep toxins and hazardous materials where children cannot see or reach them.
- Have a cell phone or landline when outside or on a field trip.
- Make sure that the first aid kit is well-equipped at all times.
- Employees are first aid and CPR certified.
- Have emergency numbers posted at all times in outdoor emergency kit and inside classrooms.
- Know how to respond to allergic reactions, including food allergies and bee stings.
Providing Emotional Support to Children After a Trauma
Young children, toddlers, and preschoolers know when bad things happen, and respond to emergency events with limited understanding or are unable to talk about their needs. As the people, places and routines they depend on for safety and care are affected, children need help. The better prepared that caregivers are, the more helpful they can be to others around them, especially children.
Children depend physically and emotionally on their caregivers. Children’s reactions depend on their age and how close they were to an upsetting event; their exposure to watching TV or hearing radio reports, and how they see their caregivers reacting. During an emergency, young children need their caregivers to know how to respond, including where to go, what to do, things to take and how to reunite them with their family. Children need help as they don’t fully understand how to keep themselves safe. Young children may freeze, cry or scream. Mental stress from a crisis event can be harder on children as they feel less in control, and have less experience in bouncing back from hard situations.
After a scary event, we often see changes in children’s behavior. Preschool children may feel helpless, upset or frightened about being separated from their parent or caregiver. They may develop aches and pains, such as stomach or headaches. It is common for preschool children to become clingy with a caregiver or need to stay in a place they feel is safe. They may fear strangers, darkness or monsters. They may cry more, have temper tantrums, withdraw from people and not play with their toys, hit others, have problems sleeping or bedwetting, become afraid of the dark or things that did not bother them before, or lose skills they previously had. These changes are a sign that they need extra help.
In most children, these common changes will be temporary. Children who were directly exposed to a disaster or have special needs can become upset again and these changes may resurface if they see or hear reminders about what happened. If they continue to be very upset, if their behaviors hurt their activities or important relationships after six weeks, then a referral to a professional provider who specializes in children’s needs may be appropriate.
In the event we had to create a “Shelter-in-Place Plan” we would seal the room with duct tape, close and lock all doors and windows to the outside. Turn off all heating systems by heating control panel, turn off all air conditioners, and switch intakes to the closed position. We would turn off exhaust fans in bathroom, seal gaps around window-type air conditions with duct tape, close as many internal doors as possible, and supplies for sealing out air such as duct tape is located in the tape drawer in Atelier Room/Tape Drawer.
We would use tape and plastic food wrapping, wax paper or aluminum wrap to cover bathroom exhausts, grilles, range vents, dryer vents, and other openings to the extent possible. We would seal any obvious gaps around external windows and doors. Close shades for additional protection. Water and clothes located in red emergency lockdown kit. If vapors begin to bother the staff and children, hold wet cloths or handkerchiefs over the nose and mouth of children and staff. We will access emergency supplies for snacks and activities if needed.
If children are on the premises in the event of severe weather, we will proceed to the Safe Place Room inside KGE facility. A teacher will take the red emergency binder with emergency numbers, a landline or cellphone, the first aid kit, epi-pen bag, and move all children to the Safe Place Room that has our lockdown kit and snacks and water. Attendance will be taken and parents will be notified immediately or as soon as it is safe to do so.
Ways Caregivers Know How to Help After a Traumatic Event
The young child feels safe when:
Focus on safety first:
- Hold them more and let them stay close to you.
- Return to a regular routine to help them make sense of their surroundings and feel comforted.
- Do familiar things like singing a song or telling a story.
- Increase time with others. Children who get support from others cope better after emergencies.
Follow the child’s lead:
- Listen and observe. Having a story helps a child make sense of what happened and cope.
- Different children need different things. Some children need to run around and need extra breaks while others may need to be held more during cuddle times.
- It can be hard to watch or listen to their stories. Caregivers need to seek support for themselves so they can listen without becoming upset.
Allow children to express their feelings and worries:
- Young children can “behave badly” or “act out” when they are scared as a way of asking for help.
- Help them name how they feel about their worry over their safety or the safety of others, including pets.
- Help them express anger in ways that won’t hurt by using words, pictures, play-time or drawings.
- Children use play or particular activities to tell their story so allow them to stop when it becomes difficult or distressing.
Help them reconnect with supportive people, community, culture and rituals:
- Simple things like a familiar story, a song, a prayer or tradition helps a child return to a “new normal”.
- Provide handouts to families about expected and predictable behaviors in young children.
- Allow parents to be with their children in your home or child care center.
- Tell children about community recovery. Reassure them that many people are working hard to restore electricity, phones, water or heat.
Offer them support and acceptance:
- Reassure them that they are safe. You may need to repeat this frequently.
- If a child feels really bad, it is a good time to seek out parents or particular teachers to help them feel better and calmer.
- Don’t punish them for “regressive” behaviors (nightmares, bedwetting, physical complaints); set limits but reassure them they are safe.
- Replace lost or damaged toys, and offer items they can touch or hold such as blankets, books or stuffed animals.
- Ask parents to provide something familiar such as a family photo while they are separated.
Just being with children even when we can’t fix things, helps!