KidCheck Secure Children's Check-In Is Sharing Tips to Prepare for Facility Emergencies

Recently we shared several Tips to Prepare for Natural Disasters and highlighted that an Emergency Action Plan (EAP), a series of written guidelines outlining how your organization intends to respond to various emergencies, is an essential part of the overall safety plan for the children’s area.

Emergencies that occur outside of your facility require everyone to enter the building as quickly and safely as possible. The objective of emergencies inside the children’s area means everyone either moves out of harm’s way or exits the building as fast as possible. Potential emergencies include fires, power outages, chemical spills, or health and behavioral emergencies.

Here are safety tips to ensure you are prepared to tackle an indoor emergency.

  • Provide easy access to emergency instructions, contact information for first responders, utility companies, poison control, leadership, facility management, and a locksmith.
  • Use text messaging, broadcast email, or an emergency alert system to keep families and other stakeholders informed during an emergency.
  • Ensure volunteers, staff, and families understand evacuation procedures, points of exit, and places to congregate once they are outside the building. This can be done with printed signage, a map on the back of the bulletin, and labeled emergency exit signs.
  • Always include a facility tour highlighting exits, stairwells, and entry points and exit when training or onboarding new volunteers, staff, and families. This will enable everyone to be more familiar with your facility and is helpful when leading others out of the building.
  • Ensure your Emergency Action Plan contains a list of what is needed to evacuate those with special needs.
  • Identify the roles and responsibilities of each volunteer and staff member during an emergency. Determine what the chain of command will look like for internal and external communication.
  • Ensure you have a process to account for and identify kids, volunteers, staff, and visitors. This can be done either manually or with an electronic solution.
  • For behavioral or health emergencies, speed is the key. Volunteers and staff should prepare to act fast if someone is harmed, injured, or experiences a heart attack, allergic reaction, seizure, or mental health crisis.
  • Make available well-marked and portable first-aid kits, defibrillators, and emergency numbers.
  • Establish a process to alert your security team, volunteers, staff, and visitors in case of an emergency. Make sure to include training on what an alert would look and sound like during an emergency.
  • Create an incident reporting process to alert the security team, authorities, first responders, classrooms, youth areas, families, volunteers, staff, and leadership.
  • Invite your local emergency services to use your facility for training. If possible, include your security team during training. This gives everyone an advantage when responding to an incident.

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Photo by Spencer Davis on Unsplash