What are the different types of disasters early childhood providers need to be prepared for?
A disaster, also referred to as an emergency, is an occurrence that results in property damage, injuries, and/or deaths in a community. When you hear the term disaster, don't just think of a hurricane or a forest fire. It could be that, but it could also be the smoke detector went off in the nursery, and you need to evacuate. A disaster is any occurrence that could cause problems. They are low in probability, but they're high-consequence events. So whether it is a fire in a trash can in the kitchen or an active shooter, there's a very low probability that it will ever occur.
Don't panic over disaster preparedness. You do need to be prepared, or there could be high consequences. There are several types of disasters including facility events such as a fire or a gas leak and natural events such as tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms, flooding, and earthquakes. Other disasters include technological events such as a blackout, hazardous materials, transportation breakdown, or water loss that might impact your care for children in your facility. There are also intentional disasters, such as an explosion, bioterrorism, threat of violence, or active shooters.
This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the course Evacuation in ECE Settings: Everyone Out!, presented by Charlotte Hendricks, PhD.