A new peer-reviewed article: Emergency Preparedness Plans and Perceptions Among a Sample of United States Childcare Providers (Leser, Looper-Coats, & Roszak, 2019) has been published in the Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness Journal. This publication is one of the first to address emergency preparedness within the field of early childhood. Prior to this article, there was no known work that specifically explored early childhood preparedness, response, and recovery. This article is the first of its kind to look at the differences in levels of perceived preparedness between child care centers and residential family child care providers.
This report was born out of a great need to protect young children from the inevitability of another emergency or natural disaster. There is a societal responsibility to shield one of our most vulnerable populations--children. As a nation, we must ensure that they are protected and that their caregivers are as trained and well prepared as possible when the next emergency event occurs.
Findings from this recent study suggest that nearly 90% of childcare providers surveyed had written emergency response plans, but that only 70% had plans to communicate with family members about emergencies or disasters. Having a written emergency plan is one of the best methods that childcare providers can use to be prepared for the unexpected. It’s also important that not only childcare providers themselves understand and practice the plan, but also children and their parents/guardians. One possible way to include parents/guardians in emergency preparedness efforts is to include the plan in the parent handbook and host a meeting with parents to review the plan.
Future work is needed to better understand how childcare providers who have been impacted by an emergency or natural disaster have responded or recovered from the event. In an effort to address this, we are beginning the process of working with childcare providers in Puerto Rico to learn how they were impacted by Hurricane Maria
This report took years of hard work, research, analysis, writing, and editing. If you have questions or comments about this work, please contact Andrew Roszak, JD, MPA, EMT-P (Executive Director of the Institute for Childhood Preparedness and study co-author) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more detailed information about how this work impacts the field, please check out the published article.