Ever since 911, there’s been an increased understanding that a strong disaster emergency and evacuation plan is required for any line of business. Child care is no exception. Over the last few months, our Child Care Licensing shop took the lead to develop and provide information and training to Arizona child care providers in effective short- and long-term emergency and disaster preparation related to individual facilities within the overall community. They began their effort by researching and assessing recommendations and best practices nationally. The areas being targeted as standards include:
- A plan for evacuating children in child care: Developing and maintaining a written emergency plan (policies & procedures that prepare, train and require practice) that ensures health, safety and welfare (shelter in place, lock down and shelter outhost facility), including maintaining (specific) information which will protect children and staff during emergencies.
- A plan reunifying children and their families after a disaster: Developing and implementing plans, procedures and back-up plans that includes ways to globally communicate with children and staff’s families and community agencies before, during and after an emergency.
- A plan with a focus on children and staff that may have special needs or chronic medical issues and requirements such as transportation, food, etc. before, during and after an emergency.
- A plan of action for recovery; protection of information and assets to allow for a continuum of care for children and families.
Our Division of Licensing’s “Emergency Preparedness” web page includes links to existing statewide emergency communication sites, existing pages containing guidance and information for basic emergency preparedness, and to a new web page containing documents, resources and links to disaster and emergency preparation and training specific to the types of facilities licensed by the Department.