Practicing Your Preparedness Plan

September 2014

By Marco Beltran

It is lunchtime at the Early Head Start center. The three infant classrooms are busy with feeding babies. The toddlers are sitting down to their family-style meal. As everyone is enjoying their afternoon, a loud explosion occurs. The staff are startled and the children begin to cry. Staff look at one another, unsure of what happened. Over the PA system, the program director announces that the neighborhood has lost power.

If this were your program, would you know what to do next?During National Preparedness Month, we encouraged programs to review and revise their Emergency Preparedness Plans. However, for plans to be truly effective, they need to be practiced throughout the year.

Why Practice?

An effective emergency preparedness plan helps your program to respond appropriately and quickly to circumstances that occur. It helps to reduce risks to everyone in the Head Start community. But, the only way that can happen is if staff, children, families, and community partners know the plan and their responsibility.

The Office of Head Start OHS does not specify an exact number of times a plan should be practiced. However, it is a good idea to do a run-through at the beginning of the program year and again before the seasons when hurricanes, tornados, or snow storms usually occur.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

Available at: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/hs/news/blog/practice.html

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