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Emergency preparedness in childcare centers [Podcast]

This week on The Preschool Podcast we are honored to welcome back Andrew Roszak, Executive Director at the Institute for Childhood Preparedness. Andrew founded this company after decades of being a first responder. He noticed that there are so many resources for colleges, businesses, high schools, and elementary schools. But these were lacking for early childhood education.

If you have seen one early childhood program, you have seen one, they are all so different and need varied support.

Andrew Roszak

There is no one size fits all approach, safety and security should not be seen as checking a box. Educators and licensors are not experts at emergency preparedness. There is not adequate training, we see people filling out forms and policies to check a box that they “have a plan”. However, no one checks if the plan is operational. We need to switch to focus plans and drills that are about the educators and the children, not about the regulators. Educators need to practice and become familiar with emergency plans.

During the emergency is not the time to develop your plan. The plan needs to be put in place for Directors, educators, and children to have confidence to move quickly from response to recovery in an emergency.

How to practice emergency preparedness in a cost-effective way

Currently, what gets measured is what gets done. Those required drills are opportunities to challenge your team and yourself to ensure everyone knows what to do and feels empowered.

  • Take drills seriously and change them up
  • Make sure windows, doors, and locks all work properly
  • Have a staff member lead your drill and give them a new experience. There is always a chance the Director will not be there in the event of an emergency
  • Leverage what you have to do but make it fun, exciting and add challenges

Some current trends we are seeing are staff turnover and having to continue to train new staff, along with an uptick in violence and crime.

For every unemployed individual, there are 2.5 jobs available.

We need to be vigilant and aware of our surroundings. Empower your team and parents to do the same and keep everyone informed if they see something off.

Christie White

Christie is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at HiMama. She is passionate about children's development, parenting, and supporting the child care industry. She has been working to support child care centers with their events and marketing for almost a decade. In her personal life, Christie lives in Stouffville, ON with her husband Kyle and dog Tucker. She enjoys going for walks, baking, cooking, and watching reality tv!

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