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Prepare Your Early Childhood Program for Disaster - Before it Strikes

September 15th, 2021 | 1 min. read

By Jennifer Lewis

National Preparedness Month (NPM) is an observance each September to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time. 

Natural disasters don’t wait for a convenient time. Preparing for them shouldn’t wait either. Start today by signing up for alerts, safe-guarding important documents, and taking other low cost and no cost preparedness actions to lessen the impact of disasters and emergencies.

Without warning, a catastrophic event can destroy an early childhood program. Based on Cathy Grace and Elizabeth Shores’ experiences working in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina, Preparing for Disaster explains the steps directors can take to insure the safety of their program and the children they care for.

“As the director or owner of an early childhood program, you may not be able to take the greatest possible mitigation step of moving your entire facility to a safer location,” share Cathy Grace and Elizabeth F. Shores, co-authors of Preparing for Disaster: What Every Early Childhood Director Needs to Know.  “However, you may be able make structural or non-structural modifications to the facility to reduce the damage if disaster occurs.”

Non-Structural Modifications

You and your staff can take many steps to reduce the dangers during disasters, such as:

  • Keeping a NOAA weather radio with tone alert and battery backup in a central location and continually on;
  • Ensuring that evacuation kits are fully stocked and easily accessible; and
  • Placing a pipe or crescent wrench next to each water and gas source.

Use the Child Safety Checklist (downloadable PDF below) to assess your facility and schedule the steps that staff members need to take. You can involve your staff in this assessment to make them aware of the modifications.

Preparing for Disaster: What Every Early Childhood Director Needs to Know provides practical advice and information to prepare for and respond to universal disasters like fires and epidemics and regional disasters such as tornadoes and earthquakes. Protect your program before disaster strikes. With forms, worksheets, staff-training workshops, and task lists, as well as helpful guidelines and insights, this groundbreaking guide is filled with practical advice for every program director. 


Author(s)Elizabeth Shores, Cathy Grace

Jennifer Lewis

Jennifer is… awesome!