In light of recent school tragedies, many parents, teachers, and administrators wonder how they can channel some of their fear and anxiety into something positive. How do you prepare yourself and the children in your care for an emergency event like a flood, tornado, or even an active shooter?
Andy Roszak, JD, MPA, EMT-P, author of Preschool Preparedness for an Emergency and Preschool Preparedness for an Active Shooter Event, suggests that practice is the best way to prepare for those unexpected emergencies. Roszak expresses that practice for any traumatic event is critical for building confidence for highly stressful situations. Below are some ways to guide you in being prepared for an emergency event.
Hi everybody. My name is Andy Roszak. I'm the executive director here at the Institute for Childhood Preparedness and I just wanted to say a couple of words. I know it's been a really hard few weeks here in the United States. Again, we have seen needless lives lost and tragedy and death, and just some horrific things that quite honestly should never even be happening.
Now I don't have all the answers and I don't pretend to, but I do know there's a couple of things that we need to be thinking about.
First off, we need to make sure that we're taking our emergency preparedness as seriously as can be. You know, preparedness isn't just a one-time event, it's not just checking a box. Preparedness is really an investment and it's an investment that will pay dividends if you ever experienced what will be the worst day in your life. Whether it's a fire, a flood, a tornado, an earthquake, a hurricane, or yes, even an active shooter event, we simply have to know what we're going to do in advance.
This is not the time to be making up things on the fly. Time and time again, it has been shown that the folks that practice, the folks that train, the folks that have that confidence do much, much better under these very, very stressful situations. So, I hope you'll join with me, and channel some of that anger, channel, some of that sadness, channel some of that anxiety and fear into something positive.
And I think one really positive thing that we can do is making sure the places that we work are as secure and as safe as possible. Sadly, we've seen an uptick in violence and in crime in the United States over the last couple of years and early childhood programs, whether they be family childcare, homes, centers, headstarts, afterschool programs, they're not immune. And we've seen incidents now more than ever, quite honestly, happening right at our front doors. We've got to start taking these issues seriously. We've got to start having conversations with our staff. We've got to start practicing what our response would be because ultimately at the end of the day, we have a very, very monumental responsibility to ensure the kids that are entrusted in our care go home safely at the end of the day.
Now the good news is there's a ton of resources that are out there to help. We have on-demand courses. We have live training. We have training where we'll come to your site and do a risk assessment. We have training where we'll get into your classrooms and actually work with your teachers to make sure that their classrooms are as secure as possible, and even do some drills to see what we would do in an emergency situation. Also, in partnership with Gryphon House, we have a series of books and one of the books is Preschool Preparedness for an Emergency and another book, is Preschool Preparedness for an Active Shooter Event that calmly and logically walks you through all the different steps that you should be taking to make your program as safe and as secure as possible.
Friends as always, we're here to help if you need it. I hope that you'll make preparedness one of your top priorities and feel free to reach out if you need some assistance. Remember, don't be scared. Be prepared!