On March 21, 2019, The Institute For Childhood Preparedness had the privilege of presenting and being a member of the planning committee for the Georgia Child Care Provider Preparedness Workshop in Chamblee, GA. The workshop brought together childcare providers, licensing officials, public health experts, and local emergency planning and response agencies to learn how to better mitigate and respond to emergencies within the local community.
This effort builds on the prior work of our founder, Andrew Roszak, who has been working with the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) to better prepare child care providers. After hosting an initial session in 2018, this workshop expanded on efforts and brought together participants from the DeKalb County Board of Health, DeKalb Emergency Management Agency, the Georgia Dept. of Public Health, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Morning Session Examined
During the morning session, we learned about the issues that childcare centers experience during disasters and the recovery period.
DECAL: provides emergency plans, disaster preparedness, and recovery resources.
DeKalb Board of Health: capable of preparedness and response.
DeKalb Emergency Management Agency: Capable of responding to an emergency. Able to work with providers to review their individual center plans.
Tips from Chief Loeffler
Chief Loeffler of the DeKalb Emergency Management Agency is responsible for ensuring the safety of 754,000 DeKalb County individuals on a daily basis. During the workshop, she was receiving multiple pages and emails regarding a real-world problem: 12 water main breaks that occurred that morning. It was an important reminder of how a sudden lack of water could impact child care programs. She also noted the importance of:
Afternoon Session Examined
The afternoon session was broken up into group discussions. The groups looked at several scenarios with regards to their child care center’s individual plans and a review of the DECAL emergency preparedness template.
The discussions brought out strengths and areas in need of improvement in their center plans.
Providers were encouraged to work with their local emergency management agencies and public health departments to learn more about the resources that they can provide.
The Importance of Early Childhood Education
Early childhood education is always important, especially during an emergency or natural disaster.
This is emotionally and financially taxing due to a large number of Georgia parents that are in the labor force. Simply put, if children do not have a safe place to go - then disaster recovery cannot begin.
Hurricane Michael: October 2018
DECAL presented timely facts and figures about the impact of Hurricane Michael on the early childhood sector.
*Images and data provided by Georgia DECAL
It was a successful workshop. Childcare providers learned about community response plans and experiences outside of their centers. Providers were also encouraged to reach out to local response agencies for information and resources.
The Institute For Childhood Preparedness was founded to help early childhood organizations prepare, respond and recover from disasters. Conducting multidisciplinary workshops is vital to ensuring that emergency management, public health, first responders and early childhood organizations establish relationships before a disaster.
Through our staff of award-winning first responders with experience in early childhood education, we help child care providers to bolster their emergency preparedness efforts, run providers through disaster scenarios, and help them write or update their state-required plans.
We will help you develop, practice, and implement an emergency response plan that’s tailored to your specific needs. Contact us today for more information.