Evacuation Plan

In the event of a disaster, the first thought is to immediately protect and comfort the children. These events may be natural or man-made such as floods, fires, earthquakes, bomb threat, etc. However minor or major the disaster, one must be prepared to handle such situations, be it the parents or the preschools. The unfortunate reality is that many of the preschools can be affected directly or indirectly by any emergency situation at any time and such an unforeseen situation can have a severe negative affect that may often lead to injury or even death. 

In case of any emergency or a disaster, it is the prime responsibility of a preschool to take care and ensure the safety of children. The purpose of having an emergency evacuation plan is to ensure safety of the children, ensure availability of resources, outline the responsibilities of staff members during the time of emergency, and most importantly be prepared to face such situations, ensuring its timely management. It is important that the preschool staff has the first hand knowledge of how to help the children get out of the crisis and ensure their safety. This will help the school be prepared to handle any kind of emergencies as well as teach the children how to be safe and to avoid any panic situation. It thus becomes imperative for a preschool to have an emergency evacuation plan or a disaster management plan.

Here are some simple guidelines that can be followed to be prepared for an emergency Have ready for an emergency evacuation,

  • A list of emergency phone numbers
  • Make sure that emergency supplies are available such as a first aid kit, fire extinguishers, blankets, torch, medical supplies, water and food
  • Involve the children in the drill in a way that will not frighten them. For example, tell them that you are practicing ways to keep them and you safe "in case of" an emergency instead of calling the exercise a fire drill, evacuation drill, etc.
  • Have an escape plan. The Escape Plan is a copy of the preschools floor plan highlighting the location of the exits, accessible areas/routes, fire extinguishers, fire alarms if any, assembly area etc
  • Have a plan for turning off electricity, gas and water.
  • A mobile phone should be available to contact emergency agencies or the parents
  • Set clear roles and responsibilities for staff members.
  • Train and drill staff members on their responsibilities during an emergency. Staff orientation must include training on the emergency plan. Practice the evacuation plan on a regular basis to ensure that it works thereby ensuring that the staff knows what to do and avoiding panic.
  • Review the plan annually and update it regularly.

While preparing an emergency plan one needs to see that the plan prepared has a holistic approach to combat any emergency. Remember, all emergencies cannot be prevented. It is best to be prepared to deal with the situation and take care of the children. The safety of the child must be a priority for every early childhood educator.