All childcare centres must practise their evacuation procedures regularly. While you know how to evacuate your building, have you thought about what you would do if not just your building but the entire area was affected? With considered planning you can help your employees and children in your care stay safe in an emergency.
Nominate an evacuation site some distance away in case the entire area needs to be evacuated. Find a facility/space open during the same times as your service with toilet facilities, which will allow you to shelter and supervise children. Suitable locations may include:
- community centres
- hotels or pubs
- other childcare centres.
Keep some useful supplies packed near the door so they're easy to grab in an evacuation. You could include nappies, water, formula, extra children's clothes, a first-aid kit, handwipes, gloves and a small amount of petty cash.
A bag should also contain an up-to-date list of contact numbers for parents.
Preparing coloured wristbands with your childcare centre's name and emergency contact details printed will help you and emergency services easily identify children in your care, especially in large scale evacuations where there are likely to be crowds of people.
Think about who else nearby may be able to help your centre evacuate. For example, parents who work closely to your centre may agree to be volunteer helpers in an evacuation.
Keep parents informed
The more parents of the children in your care know about your evacuation plans, the less likely they are to panic during an emergency or when you are required to evacuate. Include information about your evacuation plans in the centre's handbook for parents and issue regular reminders to ensure their contact details are up-to-date.
Inviting parents to watch an evacuation drill or giving them updates when you do conduct an evacuation drill may also increase their confidence in an emergency.