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Evacuation plans and drills for emergencies

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Updated: 4/18/2007 7:11 am
Most states require every childcare facility to have an evacuation plan posted and drills to rehearse the proper procedures. Even family daycares must have a plan of action in case of fire or other emergencies. Standard drill practice for fires includes calmly forming a single-file line and leaving through one of several possible exits. Many states require these exits to be clearly marked by signs with 'back-up' lights in case of electrical failure. Caregivers should rehearse with children how to avoid breathing smoke by staying close to the ground. Another helpful drill is teaching children how to extinguish (x-teen-gwish) any flames on their clothing by falling to the floor and rolling. Procedures for severe weather drills differ according to the type of weather. Flooding, tornados, and thunderstorms can involve very different measures for evacuation and drills. Providers should also have a plan for alerting parents, or the emergency contact person, to pick up children during emergency evacuations. Ask your childcare provider to show you the plan for each emergency, and ask how often they drill the children on proper behavior. If your caregiver doesn't perform drills, or only has them once a year, request that they perform them more regularly. With small children, once a month isn't too often.
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