Posted by ICCRR in News on 11/20/2023 at 3:00 PM

Navigating Emergencies - Stories, Strategies and Safety

November 20, 2023

We're excited to introduce our Emergency Preparedness Newsletter! Our team has compiled valuable insights, updates, and resources to help you prepare for unexpected situations. We've got practical advice that will equip you with the knowledge and tools to handle emergencies effectively.

We'd love to hear your feedback on how we can make this newsletter even more valuable for our providers. Our goal is to create a well-prepared child care community, and the information you provide will help us!

Thank you for your commitment to the safety and preparedness of the children in your care. Together, we will be better prepared for emergencies!

Best Regards,
CCR&R Emergency Preparedness Team

To view the newsletter as emailed, click here.


Safety Preparedness in Action

Angela Dobbs, Registered Child Development Home Provider

On August 20th, I was getting ready for work when I started to hear a lot of sirens in the distance. Not long after that, I heard a loud crash and saw several police cars and a fire truck go past my home. When I attempted to look down the road from my front porch, someone going for a walk told me that a tanker truck had crashed. This was around 6:30 a.m. I texted all of my families, letting them know that I had heard there was an accident and that when they came to child care later in the morning, they would need to possibly come by a later route. 

About 20 minutes later, I had a knock on my door from a police officer saying that the tanker was leaking diesel fuel and that they were evacuating anyone within 1000 feet of the accident. I immediately called my first family that was due to arrive at my home in just a few minutes. I advised her of what the police officer had said. I told her that I was in the process of getting my evacuation plan in order and would call her as soon as I could tell her when I would be at my evacuation site. I then texted all of my other families to let them know what was happening and that I would let them know as soon as I was at my site. 

?I then called my pastor at our church, as that is my evacuation site. I asked him if he could unlock the church so that I could move my child care there. He said he would head over and get it unlocked as soon as he dressed. I texted our new location to all my families and advised them that I would let them know when the building was available.

I then grabbed formula, bottles, diapers, baby food and a few other supplies. 

At this time, I did not have any child care kids in my home, just my own two children, ages 10 and 13. While we were going to the church, I asked my son to text Lori Tapke and let her know what was happening. Once I was safely at the church, I let all my families know where I was and that they could start to arrive at child care; it was around 7:30 a.m. while waiting for everyone to arrive, I called my CCR&R Child Care Consultant, Lori Tapke to see what else I needed to do. She was amazing!

We talked about what supplies I had brought with me and what I needed. I did not have time to grab food for any kids other than my infants. She brought me food, milk, paper plates and cups that we could use. At church, I had access to a refrigerator to keep food cold. I had taken my 1st aid kit out of my van when we went for a walk and had forgotten to put it back in, so Lori also brought me a first aid kit, a case of bottled water and a charger for my cell phone. I also contacted Toni, my Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) worker, to let her know where we were and what was happening.

I contacted the police department, asking if they had an idea when we could return to my home. They advised me to keep an eye on their Facebook page and they would post updates there. I checked there often but did not come across any updates. 

I did have two families who were directly affected by the evacuation. They are both teachers at Kittrell Elementary School, across the street from my home. They were not allowed back into the school until 11:00 a.m. So, their children would arrive later.

The children I had in attendance that day were a two-month-old, two seven-month-olds, an eighteen-month-old and a two-year-old, and my own two kids. Everyone was done for the day at 3:30. I loaded up my things and cleaned out the rooms we used at church. I headed home to see if we could get to our house. I stopped to talk with a police officer to see if we could get to our home and the road was now open. 

When I arrived home, I could still smell the diesel fuel, so we left the windows closed. 

The next morning, when I started to welcome kiddos to care, I noticed I could still smell the fuel outside. While they were eating breakfast, I contacted the nurse consultant who works with my child care to ask her if she knew if it was safe for us to play outside. She said I should keep kids in the house and that she would contact the fire department to see if they had conducted an air quality study. We played in the house for the day with the air conditioning on and the windows closed. When everyone started to head home, the odor had mostly disappeared.

I wanted to tell you how much help my CCR&R Child Care Consultant, Lori Tapke was with our situation. She did everything in her power to make sure that my crew and I had all that we needed to remain safe and comfortable until we returned to our home. I truly could not have done what I did without her support. I also wanted to share a text message I received from one of my families at the end of the day after I notified them that child care would be back in my home on Friday:

One of the biggest reasons I could handle everything so quickly is because of the emergency evacuation plan that child care homes are required to have. I am new to Waterloo in the last year and if I hadn’t thought ahead about where we would go, I would have been floundering. Because of the thought I had to put into where we would go ahead of time, everything went as smoothly as it could possibly go under the circumstances.

If you would like to share your Emergency Story, connect with a CCR&R Child Care Consultant today!



In Recent News

Healthy Child Care Iowa (HCCI) offers resources for Early Childhood Educators. Each provider should evaluate their own program and plans for outdoor physical activity as air quality sensors are not in each community (they are in centralized areas of the state) so maps may not show the program's exact location for air quality and smoke impact.  

Please connect with your HCCI Child Care Nurse Consultant or your CCR&R Child Care Consultant with any questions.



Emergency Resources for Your Program

As of October 1, 2016, Iowa law requires all child care providers to have a written emergency plan in place.

Emergency plans must include procedures for:

  1. Evacuation and relocation
  2. Sheltering-in-place
  3. Lockdown
  4. Addressing the individual needs of children, including those with functional or access needs
  5. Communication and reunification with parents and other approved individuals
  6. Continuity of operations

There are templates and tools available for child care providers to help meet your program's needs. You are not required to use any of the templates and tools offered, although the tools and templates will help you meet requirements in Iowa law. Click here to see templates.



Emergency Preparedness for Child Care Programs

This 6-hour course offered by CCR&R is designed to help all child care providers be prepared for handling emergency situations that may affect their program and community.

?During an emergency situation, it is important to know how to support the emotional needs of children and caregivers in your program and be aware of resources available to support child care emergency preparedness.

This training will:

  • ?Equip you with the knowledge to be prepared and recover from these emergencies
  • Provide the necessary tools and information to create an emergency plan for your program that will meet Iowa law requirements

Register on i-PoWeR Professional Workforce Registry



Other Resources

Family communication plan - Share this link with families in your program.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children? - The reunification system is a 24-hour hotline.1-800-THE-LOST ?(1-800-843-5678) TTY 1-800-826-7653

American Red Cross - Emergency Preparedness Tips from the Red Cross.

Child Care Aware -  Child Care Aware of America is here to help you prepare for and respond when emergencies arise.

A few suggestions to keep in mind as you develop the emergency plan for your program:

  • Keep your plan simple so you and your staff can remember the important steps to do when an emergency happens.
  • Keep your plan in a place where it is available to reference.
  • Train on and practice your plan so everyone knows what needs to be done. You and your staff's actions should be instinctive and decisive.
  • Update your plan at least annually. Make necessary changes after conducting drills or an actual event.

As early childhood education professionals, your tireless commitment to creating a nurturing and secure environment for every child is truly inspiring. We value your dedication to ensuring the safety of children in Iowa, and we encourage you to continue striving for excellence. Remember, being well-prepared and up-to-date with the latest safety guidelines is key to providing a safer future for every child.

Keep up the good work and thank you for being an inspiration to us all!



Text Communication Option

CCR&R will send text notices about EP plans, practice drill reminders, disaster declarations and more.

To join, text: IowaEP to 59925


Tags: emergency preparedness , ep newsletter , safety first newsletter

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