Standard of the Month
Caring for our Children recommends facilities should have a policy documenting that emergency drills/exercises should be regularly practiced for geographically appropriate natural disasters and human generated events such as:
- Fire, monthly;
- Tornadoes, on a monthly basis in tornado season;
- Floods, beofre the flood season;
- Earthquakes, every six months;
- Hurricanes, anually;
- Threatening person outside or inside the facility;
- Rabid animal;
- Toxic chemical spill;
- Nuclear event.
- All drills/exercises should be recorded. Please see Standard 126.96.36.199: Evacuation and Shelter-in-Place Drill Record for more information.
A fire evacuation procedure should be approved and certified in writing by a fire inspector for centers, and by a local fire department representative for large and small family child care homes, during an annual on-site visit when an evacuation drill is observed and the facility is inspected for fire safety hazards.
Depending on the type of disaster, the emergency drill may be within the existing facility such as in the case of earthquakes or tornadoes where the drill might be moving to a certain location within the building (basements, away from windows, etc.) Evacuation drills/exercises should be practiced at various times of the day, including nap time, during varied activities and from all exits. Children should be accounted for during the practice.
The facility should time evacuation procedures. They should aim to evacuate all persons in the specific number of minutes recommended by the local fire department for the fire evacuation, or recommended by emergency response personnel.
Cribs designed to be used as evacuation cribs, can be used to evacuate infants, if rolling is possible on the evacuation route(s).
Fire inspectors or local fire department representatives can contribute their expertise when observing evacuation plans and drills. They also gain familiarity with the facility and the facility's plans in the event they are called upon to respond in an emergency. In family child care homes, the possibility of infant rooms or napping areas being located on levels other than the main level makes having consideration and written approval from the fire inspector or local fire department representative of the program's evacuation plan especially important since infants require more assistance compared to other age groups during an evacuation.
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