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Emergency Preparedness
Resource Hub

Assessing Risk and Developing a Plan

Identifying Potential Hazards and Risks

In-home child care providers face unique hazards and risks that require careful consideration and planning to ensure the safety and well-being of children in their care.

Potential hazards may include natural disasters, medical emergencies, fire, and other safety hazards such as household chemicals and sharp objects. You should also consider the risks associated with your location, such as proximity to busy roads, bodies of water, or industrial facilities. 

Learn more about emergency events that could impact your child care business

Home & Business Fires

Flooding

Extreme Weather

Wild Fire

Violence

Developing an Emergency Preparedness Plan

An Emergency Preparedness Plan is not only important for the safety of children in care, it is required by Montana Child Care Licensing. 

Rule 37.95.124 CHILD CARE FACILITIES: EMERGENCY DISASTER AND ACTION PLANS

 

(1) All child care facilities must have a written emergency disaster plan. The plan for each structure used for child care must be developed in such a way that the plan can be followed in the event of a natural or human-caused disaster, such as flood, fire, tornado, or responding to an intruder. 

(2) Emergency disaster plans must include:

(a) an emergency supply of blankets, water, food, and supplies;

(b) plans for evacuation, including identification of at least one off-site gathering point;

(c) plans for evacuation of nonmobile children and children with special health care needs;

(d) contingencies that address:

(i) children's individual needs; and

(ii) staff responsibilities; 

(e) plans for reunification of children with their parents;

(f) plans for shelter in place and lock down; and

(g) plans for continuity of operation.

(3) The facility must conduct ten emergency drills per year to include:

(a) eight fire drills; and

(b) two other disaster drills that are likely to occur in the facility.

(4) All emergency drills must be documented and include the following minimum information:

(a) who conducted the drill;

(b) date and time of drill;

(c) the number of adults and children present during the drill;

(d) the length of time to evacuate; and

(e) problems identified during the drill and corrective actions.

Welcome!

We understand the paramount importance of ensuring the safety and well-being of children in your care, especially during unforeseen emergencies.

In-home child care businesses face unique challenges when it comes to emergency preparedness. As a child care professional, you are responsible for the safety and security of children within your home, and it is crucial to be prepared for various potential emergencies such as natural disasters, medical emergencies, or other unexpected events. By taking proactive steps to assess risks, develop a comprehensive emergency plan, and establish protocols, you can mitigate potential hazards and ensure a swift and effective response when emergencies occur.

 

Our aim is to empower you with the knowledge and resources necessary to create a safe environment for the children in your care. Through this webpage, you will gain insights into assessing risks specific to in-home child care, developing emergency procedures and protocols, organizing essential supplies and equipment, establishing effective communication channels, and much more.

By investing time and effort into emergency preparedness, you not only prioritize the well-being of the children, but also provide peace of mind to parents and guardians who entrust their little ones in your care. Your commitment to creating a safe and secure environment sets the foundation for the optimal growth and development of the children you serve.

We invite you to explore the various sections of this webpage, which are designed to provide you with valuable information, practical guidelines, and resources to strengthen your emergency preparedness efforts. 

Thank you for your dedication and commitment to the well-being of children in your care. Let us embark on this journey of emergency preparedness together, fostering a culture of safety and preparedness in the in-home child care sector.

Remember, being prepared today ensures a safer tomorrow.

Assessing Risk and Developing a Plan

Identifying Potential Hazards and Risks

In-home child care providers face unique hazards and risks that require careful consideration and planning to ensure the safety and well-being of children in their care.

Potential hazards may include natural disasters, medical emergencies, fire, and other safety hazards such as household chemicals and sharp objects. You should also consider the risks associated with your location, such as proximity to busy roads, bodies of water, or industrial facilities. 

Learn more about emergency events that could impact your child care business

Extreme Weather

Wild Fire

Violence

Developing an Emergency Preparedness Plan

An Emergency Preparedness Plan is not only important for the safety of children in care, it is required by Montana Child Care Licensing. 

Rule 37.95.124 CHILD CARE FACILITIES: EMERGENCY DISASTER AND ACTION PLANS

 

(1) All child care facilities must have a written emergency disaster plan. The plan for each structure used for child care must be developed in such a way that the plan can be followed in the event of a natural or human-caused disaster, such as flood, fire, tornado, or responding to an intruder. 

(2) Emergency disaster plans must include:

(a) an emergency supply of blankets, water, food, and supplies;

(b) plans for evacuation, including identification of at least one off-site gathering point;

(c) plans for evacuation of nonmobile children and children with special health care needs;

(d) contingencies that address:

(i) children's individual needs; and

(ii) staff responsibilities; 

(e) plans for reunification of children with their parents;

(f) plans for shelter in place and lock down; and

(g) plans for continuity of operation.

(3) The facility must conduct ten emergency drills per year to include:

(a) eight fire drills; and

(b) two other disaster drills that are likely to occur in the facility.

(4) All emergency drills must be documented and include the following minimum information:

(a) who conducted the drill;

(b) date and time of drill;

(c) the number of adults and children present during the drill;

(d) the length of time to evacuate; and

(e) problems identified during the drill and corrective actions.

Templates and Resources

Tips for Evacuation, Communication, and Reunification

Include multiple off-site gathering places for evacuations:

It is important for child care programs to have multiple evacuation sites identified in case the primary location becomes inaccessible due to a widespread emergency such as a wildfire. It is also important to consider aligning with community evacuation plans to ensure that the alternative sites are safe and accessible. In emergency situations, it may be necessary to evacuate children to a designated community shelter or to another child care program in a different location. Having a plan in place and communicating it with parents and staff can help ensure the safety and well-being of the children in the program.

Communication with parents/guardians:

Effective communication is crucial during emergencies to ensure the safety and well-being of children in care. Here is a communication protocol for child care professionals and parents/guardians:

  1. Have a communication plan in place: Develop a communication plan that outlines how you will communicate with parents/guardians during an emergency. This should include who will be responsible for communicating with parents/guardians, what methods of communication will be used, and how often updates will be provided.

  2. Use multiple methods of communication: Use multiple methods of communication, such as text messages, phone calls, email, and social media, to ensure that parents/guardians receive updates during an emergency. Ensure that all contact information is up to date and easily accessible.

  3. Provide regular updates: Regularly provide updates to parents/guardians during an emergency. This can help to alleviate their concerns and keep them informed about the situation.

  4. Be transparent: Be transparent about the situation and provide as much information as possible to parents/guardians. This can help to build trust and ensure that parents/guardians are able to make informed decisions about their child's safety.

  5. Follow up: Following the emergency, follow up with parents/guardians to address any concerns or questions they may have. This can help to ensure that everyone feels heard and valued.

Parent Reunification Process: 

The process should include the following steps:

  1. Verify the identity of the person picking up the child by checking photo ID and comparing it to the authorized list of pick-up persons.

  2. Confirm the identity of the child by checking identification tags or other identifying information.

  3. Have the parent or authorized pick-up person sign the child out on the attendance sheet, including the time of pick-up.

  4. Provide any necessary information to the parent or authorized pick-up person regarding the emergency or disaster, including any ongoing risks or hazards.

  5. Collect any personal belongings or medications for the child and provide them to the parent or authorized pick-up person.

  6. Keep records of the parent or authorized pick-up person's information, including name, phone number, and address, for future contact.

It is important to regularly review and practice this process with staff and parents to ensure everyone is familiar with the procedures and can respond quickly and efficiently in the event of an emergency. Additionally, child care providers should align their parent reunification process with community evacuation plans to ensure a smooth transition during emergencies.

Emergency Supplies and Equipment

In order to ensure the safety and well-being of children in an emergency, it is important for child care providers to identify and have essential emergency supplies and equipment on hand. These supplies and equipment can help providers respond effectively in the event of an emergency and provide critical support to children and families. Such items may include first aid kits, emergency communication devices, food and water supplies, evacuation tools, and other essentials. By identifying these supplies and ensuring they are accessible and in good working condition, child care providers can be better prepared to respond to emergencies and protect the children in their care.

What do I need?

In emergency situations where you may need to evacuate your facility, having a well-prepared short-term emergency bag is essential. This bag should contain necessary items such as emergency contact information, first aid supplies, essential medications, spare clothing, snacks, and comfort items to ensure the immediate needs of the children are met.

 

Additionally, it is equally important to have a comprehensive long-term emergency kit in place for shelter-in-place scenarios. This kit should include non-perishable food items, drinking water, a battery-powered radio, flashlights, extra batteries, blankets, sanitation supplies, and a basic toolkit. By having these essential supplies readily available, you can ensure the safety and comfort of the children during extended periods of confinement.

We suggest following the recommendations of Child Care Aware of America 

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Request Free Supplies: Emergency Preparedness Supplies Order Form

We understand the importance of being well-prepared for any unforeseen emergencies, and we are here to assist you in acquiring the essential supplies you need to keep the children in your care safe and secure. Our order form offers a wide range of emergency preparedness supplies to meet your specific needs. From first aid kits and emergency contact information forms to flashlights, batteries, and non-perishable food items, we have carefully curated a selection of items that are crucial for emergency situations.

 

Please note that due to limited funding, priority will be given to Family Friend and Neighbor (FFN), Relative Care Exempt (RCE), and Family Programs. We strive to support as many providers as possible, but availability may vary based on funding constraints.

To place an order, simply fill out the form with the required information, including your contact details, program type, and the specific supplies you require. Our team will process your order as quickly as possible, considering the prioritization criteria mentioned above.

Please keep in mind that while we make every effort to fulfill all orders, supplies may be subject to availability. In the event that certain items are out of stock, we will do our best to provide suitable alternatives or inform you of any delays.

Don't wait until it's too late. Be proactive and ensure you have the necessary emergency preparedness supplies on hand. Place your order today and take a crucial step towards creating a safe and secure environment for the children in your care. Together, let's be prepared for anything that comes our way.

Get Involved, Support your Community, Learn More

Connect with Your Local CCR&R

Looking for support in your emergency preparedness planning? Look no further than your local Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) agency! Your dedicated team is here to provide you with valuable resources, guidance, and assistance to ensure that you are well-prepared for any emergency situation that may arise in your child care program. From creating comprehensive emergency response plans to offering training sessions and access to essential supplies, your CCR&R is committed to supporting you every step of the way. Don't face the challenges of emergency preparedness alone - reach out to your local CCR&R today and let us help you safeguard the well-being of the children in your care.

Become a guardian Program

Guardian Programs are licensed child care facilities that offer temporary child care for local relief workers, such as firefighters and emergency responders in the event of a disaster. Guardian Programs may also assist other temporary facilities with personnel or supplies during a major emergency. These programs have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with their local child care resource & referral agency. 

 

Expectations of Guardian Programs are that they:​​

  • Have a detailed emergency plan in place

  • Hold regular emergency drills

  • Be available for 72 hours of continued child care when offering temporary childcare

  • Have supplies and personnel ready in a timely manner if you're supporting another temporary facility

Check out our Guardian Program Brochure for more information

Assessing Risk
Developing a Plan
EP Supplies
Get Involved

Receive Text Alerts and Win Prizes

Stay informed and be prepared with our convenient text alert system! As a Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN), Relative Care Exempt (RCE), or Family Program participant, signing up for our text alerts will keep you up-to-date on important reminders such as checking emergency supplies, testing fire alarms, and more. Plus, by actively participating in our check-ins by replying back to the message, you'll have the chance to enter into a drawing for a chance to win a valuable gift card. Don't miss out on this opportunity to enhance your emergency preparedness while having a chance to be rewarded. Sign up for our text alerts today and stay connected to valuable information and exciting opportunities! To opt in to this text campaign and be a part of our monthly drawing raffle, please text PREPAREMT to 1-406-201-5456

Sign up for Text!

Share Your story

Request Support

We want to hear from you! Share your emergency preparedness or emergency situation story with us and help us learn how to best support child care providers like you. Your experiences are invaluable in helping us understand the challenges and successes you've faced in emergency situations. By sharing your story, you contribute to raising awareness and emphasizing the importance of emergency preparedness in the child care community. Together, we can elevate the conversation and ensure that every child care provider is equipped with the knowledge and resources needed to handle emergencies effectively. Your story matters, so don't hesitate to reach out and make a difference today!

Looking for more support?  Raise Montana and your local CCR&R are ready to assist you with a wide range of requests to enhance your emergency preparedness efforts. Whether you require training sessions to build your knowledge, more information on emergency protocols, access to essential supplies and resources, technical assistance in creating an emergency plan, or guidance in assembling your emergency bags, we've got you covered. Simply reach out to us and let us know what you need. Together, we'll ensure that you have the support and resources necessary to safeguard the well-being of the children in your care. Don't hesitate to make your request today and take proactive steps towards a safer child care environment.

Get Support
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