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Is Your Child's School/Daycare Prepared For An Emergency?

4:37 PM, Sep 10, 2013   |    comments
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  • Source: USA Today/Save the Children
  • Source: USA Today/Save the Children
    

UNDATED -- We're in the middle of hurricane season and during the time of year when memories of the shootings in Newtown, and the Moore, Oklahoma tornadoes remind us disaster can strike at any time.

You probably know what you would do in an emergency. But what about your kids? They spend a lot of their time away from home, at school, or daycare, and they may not know what to do. It turns out, it's the facility's responsibility to have a plan.

USA TODAY: HALF OF STATES LACK DISASTER PLAN FOR SCHOOLS, DAYCARES

Many states have minimum standards to protect children during major emergencies. They must address four issues: evacuation and relocation, family reunification, children with special needs, and multiple hazards in schools. Save the Children's Disaster Report Card found 28 states and the District of Columbia fail to meet all four of the standards.

USA Today reporter Marisol Bello did their article. When she talked to WFMY News 2 via satellite, she said, "Sandy Hook's actually a really good example because in order to get into the school, you had to be buzzed in. Problem was that the intruder who went in, actually shot his way in and once he was in the school there was nothing there to, there were no further contingency plans to stop him from going into the classrooms." Experts suggest parents ask to see and walk through their child's school or daycare defense plan. That way they know the steps in place to keep an intruder from getting to the children. 

So where does North Carolina stand? We meet three of the four standards. Our state does not require schools and daycares have a family reunification plan.

Bello said, "With Katrina for example, 5,000 children were separated from their parents and it took six months for the last child to be reunited with his or her parents. So it becomes really important to have a plan and say, 'if we're leaving the building, how do we get little boy or little girl back to mom and dad'." 

Your child's school should have an emergency plan in place. You can speak with the principal or daycare director and ask to see it. If there's not one in place, you might want to volunteer to help create one!

Bello said, "The experts will say thats not being overprotective, its being smart. [...] It's good in the same way its good to have a family emergency plan in the event of some type of disaster, and it's also good to know what your school or daycare's plan is in the same event."

Bello offered more advice on what plans should entail and the types of questions parents should ask. Watch them in our web extra.

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