Emergency Procedures in Childcare Settings

Ken Walker

Emergency-evacuation-procedure-in-childcare-main

 

Establishing emergency evacuation procedures in childcare

as3745-2010As a guide, owners and operators of a Child Care facility can use Australia Standard 3745-2010. This should always be done in consultation with a qualified emergency manager. The goal of all emergency procedures is to firstly reduce the risk to life and secondly mitigate the risk to the property.

If you are the owner and/or operator of a childcare or learning centre and about to establish or update procedures the goal will be the primary focus. The process can be quite daunting, but the resulting procedure must be workable and well tested.

Here is a list of items to consider in the process of establishing your child care emergency procedures.

  1. Obtain a copy of the relevant Australian Standards
  2. Consult your industry body and/or consultant for advice
  3. Conduct a general risk assessment of the facility – even if this has already been done
  4. Take the information gathered during the risk assessment (which must include occupant information) and brainstorm the potential options
  5. Using your organisation policy and procedure template draft preliminary procedures
  6. Have the management team review and comment on the draft
  7. Conduct a tabletop exercise with the management team using realistic scenarios (conduct a review)
  8. Finalise the draft document and have authorised for use by the owner/occupier
  9. Write a testing plan for the emergency procedures
  10. Write a scenario plan and have parents and children participate in an exercise
  11. Ask for feedback and make changes where required

Book and sudit for your childcare facility

Click image to access evacuation in childcare checklist.

It may seem a little formal for your situation but really it will lead you to a workable and contextualized plan. To become an effective emergency manager takes many years so at STG Fire Safety Training we recommend you consult a professional for advice who can simplify and prioritize the information for you. Leaving out one little component, you may think insignificant, may be the difference between a safe evacuation of all occupants or a potentially catastrophic injury or death of those same occupants. A workable and practiced plan is the key to success. Good Luck.

risk management australian standardMajor emergencies happen every day and sometimes these emergencies are in a childcare environment. Even though they are rare, you should be ready to handle an Emergency in a way that does not cause further harm to the child or other occupants. Accidents may occur at any point, especially with children involved as they explore the world around them. Therefore, making emergency procedures in childcare settings are very important.

The little bundles of joy are not only precious but also very delicate. Simply having access to sharp objects or even glass could result in a major emergency for a given childcare centre.

Emergency evacuation procedures in childcare – what should one expect?

There are various types of emergency situations in child care and caregivers may find themselves requiring a partial or even full evacuation. Would you be prepared if this happened to you? An emergency plan can only be implemented effectively by testing reviewing and updating the plan. Qualified trainers are best placed to provide professional guidance. Child care emergency plan guidelines may include procedures on the following.

This may include

  • Severe vomiting
  • Nose bleeding
  • Vomiting of blood
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Broken bones
  • Chest pain
  • Seizures
  • Suffocating
  • Chocking
  • Poisoning

Many of these emergencies may only need a partial evacuation of those children not involved. Therefore, establishing a plan in the heat of the moment will be problematic.

Emergencies that potentially require full Emergency Evacuation may involve:

  • Fires
  • Floods
  • Bee infestation
  • Broken glass

A good plan will have a number of contacts, other than “Triple Zero”, that could help carers with the situation at hand.

Potential fatal Emergencies such as.

  • Cyclone
  • Bushfires
  • Earthquakes
  • Bombings

These all have the potential to produce catastrophic outcomes.

What are Emergency Procedures in Childcare Settings  in Australia? They are procedures put together by a trained and qualified emergency planning committee, established by the owner of the business. Almost monthly or even weekly we see an emergency taking place at a childcare centre in Australia. The best looking emergency procedures in the country may not be good enough for your centre. They must be specifically designed for the given risk.

Therefore, having a competent person conduct a risk assessment will be a good start in identifying associated problems (risks). part of this assessment and planning process should include a post business continuity plan. Being able to recover from an emergency is as important as preparedness and response. Many staff and others may be relying on the centre for their livelihood. Also, it may be the owners only source of income.

Some emergency scenarios

Medical emergencies are generally assessed as the most prominent emergencies and as such early learning teachers must be first aid qualified (in Australia). Qualifications can be useless without the tools of the trade being available. Namely a complete first aid kit. Designed to deal with any expected emergency.

 

Emergency-evacuation

 

 

The First Aid Kit should be accessible and should be kept in a cool and dry place. In case it contains solutions to ensure that they are not expired by frequently checking the expiry date and replace them as often as possible.

Emergencies such as fires, evacuate the children and try to reassure them to keep them from panicking. Use a blanket to cover the children to keep them from, inhaling fumes. Try to stay calm. Use the nearest fire exit and avoid elevators at all costs, instead take the stairs.

Emergency planning ensures effective processes are followed.

Ensure you sound the alarm and contact the relevant authorities for help. When Evacuating children, ensure that you stay with them and that they do not wander on their own. Ensure that they are with you at all times and if it is more than one child have them hold hands to keep track of all of them.

In the event of an Emergency where you have to evict the children ensure that you close doors, for Instance during a fire to keep the fire enclosed in one area. Once outside the building, go to the evacuation site and take a roll call of all the children to ensure that none of them are missing.

Ensure that you communicate with the relevant authorities and update them on any new development.  Also, call the children’s parents if you are their caregiver. Ensure that get a medical checkup to ascertain they are physically fit. Persons attending the facility also may have a role. So how are families and visitors informed about emergency procedures? Here again we have identified the importance of emergency procedures in childcare settings.

Childcare workers are in the prime position to provide assistance.

In conclusion, it is evident that in Australia, emergencies can occur at any given moment, and thus, you should always be prepared to handle the situation and ensure the safety of the children. As a caregiver, it is crucial that you remain calm to avoid causing panic among the children, which may result in further chaos.

Ensure that you have the children’s parents’ numbers so as to call them immediately in case of an Emergency. Also, teach children how to call for help in the event of an Emergency. Basic skills, such as laying low during an earthquake, can help keep your children safe. Emergencies are inevitable at times, but it mandatory that you are always prepared to handle the emergency. For further information and advice contact STG Fire Safety Training on (03) 9005 1767.

 

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