EM Forum Presentation — July 31, 2013

Indiana Emergency Response Planning Guide
For Child Care Providers

Nancy Morris
Emergency Preparedness Planner
Indiana Department of Homeland Security

Amy Sebring
EIIP Moderator

This transcript contains references to slides which can be downloaded from http://www.emforum.org/vforum/IDHS/PlanningGuideforChildProviders.pdf
A video recording of the live session is available at http://www.emforum.org/pub/eiip/lm130731.wmv
MP3 format at http://www.emforum.org/pub/eiip/lm130731.mp3
or in MP4format at http://www.emforum.org/pub/eiip/lm130731.mp4

[Welcome / Introduction]

Amy Sebring: Good morning/afternoon everyone and welcome to EMForum.org. I am Amy Sebring and will serve as your Host and Moderator today and we are very glad you could join us.
We hope your summer is going well. I suspect there are a few people on vacation.

The last program we did focused on the needs of children was back in 2009, before the National Commission on Children and Disasters had issued its final report in 2010. So it is definitely time for an update, and a look at how one state at least has been implementing the recommendations.

[Slide 1]

Now it is my pleasure to introduce Nancy Morris, Emergency Preparedness Planner for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. She joined the agency in 2007 and has worked on various emergency preparedness projects focusing on topics such as child care and people with disabilities.  Most recently, Nancy worked on the Indiana planning guide that is our topic today. Please do check out the background page for additional details and links to related resources.

Welcome Nancy and thank you very much for taking the time to be with us today. I now turn the floor over to you to start us off please.


Nancy Morris: Thanks, Amy.  I appreciate the invite and I get to talk about something I am very passionate about and very proud of—our Emergency Response Planning Guide we developed for child care providers.  Indiana has about 4,500 child care centers throughout the state that serve about 100,000 kids at any given time.

When we looked at this we said, “That is a lot of kids we have to look at what they need to have planned preparedness plans for.”  Child care providers were given the information that they needed to have emergency plans that are all-encompassing or as we in the emergency management world like to say, “comprehensive”, but they weren’t given any guidance as to what or how or what actually needed to be in those documents.

We looked at putting together a team of subject matter experts to put together this planning guide.

[Slide 2]

As Amy said we looked at the National Commission on Children and Disasters and used the information that was in there.  It was established in 2007 and it basically said that after Katrina, Rita and a couple of things that might have happened with disasters—we looked at it and decided we needed to focus some of our attention and resources on children during times of adisaster.

They created a report, “The State of Emergency Preparedness” and they did a study on the impact of existing public policy.  They delivered this report to Congress and the President in 2010.

[Slide 3]

We looked at who some of our partners needed to be.  In the guide it outlined who some of those folks needed to be.  We looked at our Indiana Association of Childcare Resource and Referral and that organization is on the childcare centers go to for information, training, education, and how to become a childcare provider in the State of Indiana.  It is also a resource parents can go to if they are looking for a childcare facility.

I’m not sure that every state has one but I’m almost positive they do.  We also have the Indiana Department of Education.  We have the Indiana School Safety Specialist Academy and I am actually a certified school safety specialist through this.  The only thing we have looked at is the difference between education in the school systems and the education in childcare is only the size and the ages of the kids these folks are taking care of.

They have the same mission—to make sure that when the kids are in their care that they are in a safe and secure environment so they can learn better, so we brought on partners from the Department of Education.  We also brought in our Department of Environmental Management because they focus on the healthy kids aspect.  They have a healthy environment aspect of their program that really focuses on air quality and conditions, pest control and things like that for a childcare center.

[Slide 4]

Obviously our agency, The Planning and Assessment Division—that would be me—and our State Fire Marshal—our State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Section Chief we had as our partner on this, is the guy who oversees all the inspectors who go out into these facilities and sees where they might have issues, concerns or might have questions.

When we get questions even now he is my go-to guy as far as how about this, and why they can’t do that.  He had a very big piece in helping educate us on the fire code in general.  Our Bureau of Childcare is the licensing agency for the childcare providers in Indiana.  

Indiana has three types of childcare facilities. We have licensed facilities.  Basically they are the big name centers.  You have in home childcare facilities and ministry childcare facilities.  What we wanted to do was make sure this was something that was put together no matter if you were a childcare facility of two kids or a hundred kids that you were able to utilize the information in this guide.

We also invited friends from the Indiana School of Medicine, the Emergency Medical Services for Children—that is actually part of Riley Children’s Hospital which is a world renowned hospital for children in Indiana and the Indianapolis area.  We thought they would be a good partner to have because they see some of the effects afterwards.

How do we prevent child burns and some of the other things they might see in their hospital facility?  Then of course the State Department of Health because they have all the guidelines as far as what determines a medical condition for a childcare facility.  When there is an outbreak, how do they determine that?  That kind of information. That’s why we included them as a planning partner.

[Slide 5]

We do like to have purpose statements.  When we sat down to talk about this we asked, “What is our main goal of putting together this document?”  What we wanted to do was give them the basic preparedness information, but not just give them the information but give them a little bit of planning information that goes along with it—a lot of planning considerations and things to think about.

We created five goals that would help educate those providers on developing an emergency response plan or their emergency action plan.  Depending on the facility you talk to they use those terms interchangeably.  I might say it is an emergency action plan but it is also the emergency response plan.

Creating and executing and emergency evacuation plan—they know how to get the kids out but what do they do with them if they can’t get them back into the building in a timely manner?  What if they can’t get into the building because it is a permanent evacuation?

Posting and collecting emergency numbers—we went through when we were putting the guide together and we were talking about some agencies that needed to be a part of it and it was interesting because we said, “We never thought about adding IDEM (Indiana Department of Environmental Management) because if you are on a well you need to contact them to come out and check the well.”  We hadn’t thought about adding them.

We also let childcare providers review the guide in its early stages to get their feedback on it and give us some information.  One of the things they liked is the form that is in the back that had all the information because it was a one-stop shop that they could put all their phone numbers in it.  

One of the comments we got back was that they were very excited that we had put in about contacting your insurance provider or contacting another childcare facility that might be across the street from you.  Those were some of the things we put in there in making sure they also had first responders and other emergency numbers.

[Slide 6]

We talked about reviewing and posting the guide on how to handle an emergency in a childcare setting.  They really hadn’t been told what to do.  “I have to post the fire evacuation routes and stuff on my wall but what if I need to evacuate for something other than a fire?  What if I need to do something different?”  We helped put together some points for them on that.

We talked about training staff on specific roles and responsibilities during an emergency.  We took the ICS structure and followed it and said who was going to do what and break it down into ICS terms. And also looking at children with special needs, health needs and some that have disabilities during an emergency.

Riley Children’s Hospital played a big part in that because they gave us the all-encompassing form of things to think about that we hadn’t necessarily considered when you are planning for children that might have some kind of health need.

[Slide 7]

Earlier we talked about the Incident Command System in NIMS.  What our guide does is follow that.  It discusses the ICS and the NIMS program.  It provides suggested roles and responsibilities.  It includes a checklist that includes the staff, maintenance and parents.  We all know that in a time of disaster we all think somebody else is going to do something and maybe that doesn’t get done.

If you have identified who does what and have those responsibilities laid out ahead of time and having a backup person in place nobody is going to sit there and go, “Who is going to do what?”

[Slide 8]

Currently, Indiana’s requirements—we have a fire/smoke/bomb threat emergencies and tornado and earthquake.  Those are all the requirements for the state of Indiana.  In the childcare setting things go beyond those requirements and there are things they may not know how to handle.

[Slide 9]

We also wanted them to understand that emergency planning—it is not like the good idea fairy came and said you need to do this.  There are some good points to having an emergency plan in place.  First of all it protects the lives of the children and staff.  It lessens the impact on public and private property.

It also provides an understanding of strengths and limitations.  If they know where their strong points are they can build upon that.  If they know what their limitations are they know those are some resources they need to reach out to from some of their planning partners—the emergency management community, the first responders and the private sector in general.

There are laws in place.  If it is a fire or bomb threat how are you going to handle that situation?  Having a plan that covers those, you can use that—there is a liability for the provider.  If you think about it a childcare provider has a parent’s most precious asset—their child.  Make sure you give them that satisfaction or assurance that the child is going to be taken care of.

It also helps prevent chaos among parents, children and the staff.   I’ll tell you a true story.  My son was in the first grade and I was very new to the emergency management community.  It was towards the end of the school year in his first year of school.  He came home from school one day and he said, “Guess what I did today?”  And I said, “I don’t know.  What did you do today?”

He said, “They loaded us all on the bus and drove us around the block and then we got off the bus.”  I said, “That is the stupidest thing I ever heard of.  Why did they do that?”  He said, “In case we have to evacuate the school.”

Where my son’s school is there is a major railroad right behind it and there are seven schools in that area close to those railroad tracks.  Well lo and behold, a year later the exact same scenario had to take place because a train had derailed and they had to evacuate the school.  For three and a half hours I did not know where my son was.  

They did not give that information out.  They did not tell me.  I was picking up bits and pieces off the news media.  My one saving grace was that they just did this exercise a year ago.  By that time I had been in the emergency management community a little bit longer and understood what they were doing and what the process was so I wasn’t going to add to the chaos.

Since then they have taken steps to rectify those issues but there was chaos among the parents who didn’t understand where their kids were and what they were going to be doing with them.  They were safe and the staff knew exactly what they were going to need to do—they were relocated to another facility which is what happened to them.

They didn’t have anything in their plan about how they were going to notify parents.  Now that has been taken care of and we are not as chaotic.  It also helps improve recovery time.  If  a childcare facility doesn’t get up and running then the community is going to struggle longer if it is a disaster in the community itself, say after a flood or tornado, because the parents aren’t going to be able to take their kids to childcare facility to take care of their kids while they go to work which therefore  stimulates the economy, and so forth.

If the childcare center doesn’t open they can’t make money in the process as well.  It is a big vicious cycle.

[Slide 10]

As I said the information in the guide—we looked at the 2010 Indiana Hazard Index Risk Assessment and provided some information that is in there.  We gave a brief description of what the county EMA and other partners in the community are going to do.  A lot of them don’t know that we are required a county EMA nor do they know who they are or how to reach them.  We also give them information on how to do that.

We talk about illness prevention.  There is a matrix in there that breaks it out and tells them these are some things to think about if your children are experiencing this.  This is information that came from the CDC.  We talk about emergency actions in the matrix.  If for example you need to go into a lockdown, what are the steps you need to take?

You use it as a quick snapshot.  It says I have a potentially violent situation and I need to go into a lockdown and here are the steps I need to do.  We also talk about childcare planning considerations.  What are some things we might need to think about?

[Slide 11]

As I said earlier we talk about the roles and responsibilities of the staff and who will do what and when.  We give them an emergency supply list.  It is a suggested emergency supply list.  We all hear about taking those little backpacks and making sure we have them but maybe I have a facility of 100 kids—how am I going to carry 3,000 bottles of water for these kids and yet be able to do that.

At least be able to have the emergency supplies to get through the next 24 hours.  We also suggest putting those supplies in a garbage tub and wheeling it out the door like you would putting the kids in one of those evacu-cribs.  

We talk about the communication of the emergency response plan—making sure your emergency responders know what is in your plan.  We like to say we don’t exchange business cards during a disaster, so having those folks at your planning table and talking to them ahead of time about information they might need to know about where you are.

First and most importantly identifying the location because if you are a small in-home childcare center or if you are in a shopping center they may not know you are in that facility.  Also the reunification piece—how are we going to make sure that little Suzie goes home with her mom, dad or custodial guardian and not somebody like me who says they are Suzie’s parent and they are not.  Make sure we have addressed that in the plan to make sure that is in place.

[Slide 12]

We talk about emergency drills and procedures.  We talk about the importance of doing lockdown in our guide, fire drills, evacuation and reverse evacuation.  We talk about handling medical illnesses and emergency and disease outbreaks.  How are you going to notify parents that they can’t bring their kids in because little Suzie has had the chicken pox or another illness that may have your facility closed for a few days?

What are some special considerations for children that have any kind of health care needs?  Allergies are a big thing right now so we outline some of the stuff you need to think about when you are grabbing your first aid kit.  Do you have those maintenance medications for children who may have an allergy?  Also, how are you recovering from an emergency?

[Slide 13]

We talked about staff training resources.  We really pushed the information about FEMA and those courses that are in FEMA that outline the childcare industry.  We talked about resources for the providers.  I believe it is the “Do 1 Thing” website [http://do1thing.com] that sends you a monthly reminder as far as what you need to do to make a personal plan.  We give that as a resource to look at that doing that for their childcare facility on a regular basis.  I believe that came from the Michigan area.

We talk about the tabs for specific issues.  We created a tab section and in the back of the tabs it has a lot of information there.  We give them the Indiana code for if you have to close your facility and reasons why you have to close your facility.  We give them information they can utilize.  It will have information in there about who is going to do what.  What are some of the responsibilities that need to be outlined?

We also give them forms that they can reproduce in their centers.  Sometimes they have already created that stuff but why re-create the wheel?  Let’s use some other good best practices.

[Slide 14]

As I talked about earlier here are the emergency action categories.  It gives you a little bit of what is the threat or hazard and what I have to do.  It is a very quick snapshot.  Do I have to lockdown or shelter in place?  Do I have to think about temporary evacuation or a permanent evacuation?

[Slide 15]

We talk about training our staff and the programs but also who is going to write those policies and who is going to be responsible for training the staff.  We talk about practice.  You have to practice, practice and practice.  You practice with the kids and the staff and without the staff and children.  Maybe you practice with the children but not the staff, or the staff and not the children.

You run the scenarios through your own head if you are the director of the facility—it would work in this case but it wouldn’t work if our evacuation spot is where they pile the snow up.  If you have to evacuate your facility on a snowy day that may not be a good place to do that—again how are you notifying parents if there is an issue?  How do you make sure the kids are reunited with the right people?

[Slide 16]

We talked about the courses from FEMA.  As you see there as item number two on the list is your introduction to ICS for school. As I said earlier it doesn’t matter whether it is a school for K-12 or you are looking at infant through kindergarten.  They still have the same mission.  The ICS principles are used in many different settings.

I actually used somewhat the ICS principles when I had a party at my house for the Fourth of July.  Who is doing what?  That is my logistics section.  My husband is in charge of food, cooking and making sure that happens.  My son is in charge of entertainment so that is the operations section.  When you look at it from that standpoint you see that would probably work under this.

We talk about fundamentals of emergency management.  We felt that childcare providers needed to have at least the basics of how the emergency management community works. First of all it gives them a better understanding of the terminology that first responders may be using and it also gives them the information of how the whole system works to begin with.

[Slide 17]

In the last two courses we talk about the National Incident Management System since that ishow everything gets tied in together and how they play a big role in that aspect of it.  The community preparedness—how doing simple activities can involve everyone.

[Slide 18]

Now as we move forward with our guide those are the two sites you can get a copy of our guide for State of Indiana.  We are looking at developing a training program with the Bureau of Childcare for staff and consultants and we are going to put an online training program that is out there for providers.  

The online training program is going to be for childcare providers who might need to do training on demand or they might have to get CEU credits for it.  We are still working on how that is going to look and what that is going to do.  We had a meeting last Friday with the Bureau of Childcare to see how we are going to get that information out to them and get it put together.

[Slide 19]

That’s all I have.  Does anyone have any questions?

Amy Sebring: Thank you very much Nancy.  I appreciate that overview and we can get into more details as we will move to the Q&A portion.

[Audience Questions & Answers]

Amy Sebring:  You issued this fairly recently. Have you had a chance to receive any feedback from childcare providers on the completed guide?

Nancy Miller:  We have.  It has been well received.  Childcare providers love the guide.  We actually had one childcare center tell our local news media that what was great about this guide was that it worked.  We were all very happy to hear that.

It wasn’t just something that was a good idea.  The good idea fairy came and visited everyone.  We actually put together a document that had good information in it that they were able to use.

Amy Sebring:  How long did it take you to work through this with all your partners?

Nancy Miller:  With all the partners and everything actually started June sixth of last year with a goal of having it completed, signed off and ready to be rolled out at the Indiana Association for Education of Young Children Conference that is held in April of this year.  We had it done by November of last year.

It was going through it with revision process and everyone reviewing it.  Probably to say it was completely done was by February.

William Warren: I was surprised that IN law doesn't require the possibility of a school shooter be addressed. Have you addressed this in the guide?
Nancy Miller:  We talk about lockdown procedures.  Now with a lot of information and new education about how to “run, hide, fight”—some of us may have seen those videos from the Department of Homeland Security.  We are looking at revising that—just how it is going to work in a childcare setting.

We do still use turn the lights out, close and lock the door, hide under the furniture and hide in the closet.  We still use that principle because at the time we were doing our guide that was the best practice and that was what was being looked at.  As far as the first part your question that you are surprised that we don’t have a possibility for a school shooter—remember that schools are different from childcare centers.  What the school system might be required to have Indiana law doesn’t look at a childcare center in the same aspect.

Dee Beaugez: Have you covered childcare for after school programs when they are handled by providers other than school staff (i.e., independent child care centers in schools)?

Nancy Miller: No, not really.  I’m assuming that question is how you handle if you are ABC Childcare Center and I am going to pick up students at a school and bring them back to my facility as part of my before and after school program.  We have not singled that part of it out but this plan is all encompassing and it can be flexible enough where that program would work with it no matter what you did.

I know that a lot of school programs are looking at this guide as well as how they are going to have their after school programs look at that aspect of it and be able to implement that because a lot of those facilities are still in schools and making sure they are incorporated into that program.

Jo Moss: How do you help providers address specifics for fire, lockdown, weather, etc. or what guidance do you give them for same?

Nancy Miller:  Based on whatever the situation is we tell them that if you have to shelter in place, what is the proper method for sheltering in place?  What is the proper method for a fire if you are going to evacuate?  What are some planning considerations you need to think about? When you do an evacuation are you going to be evacuation temporarily?

If you have to go outside and it is freezing cold what are some provisions you need to make sure you have emergency supplies with you—you might have blankets thrown in the bag that you will be able to keep those kids warm in the process.  We do address some of that information that is in there and we give them various guidance.

If you look at our guide it will give you a lot of good information and things to think about when you are looking at it in general.

Jo Moss: Regarding Run-Hide-Fight, is that really possible for child care settings in your opinion?

Nancy Miller: In my opinion do I think run, hide, fight is feasible in a childcare setting? That is up for debate.  I’m sure there are certain things they can do in a childcare setting like barricading and fortifying the room to keep the shooter out of the room. That one I don’t know.  I have mixed feelings on it and that will be a discussion with childcare providers that will have to be over my pay grade, so to speak.

Isabel McCurdy: How are the parents incorporated into this plan?

Nancy Miller:  We highly recommend that parents are part of the planning team because parents might have better ideas than what we may think of.  Not to mention some of those parents may be first responders so they may have the ability to bring resources to the table.  Parents that are not first responders may say in the event of an emergency they can do this or that. If they understand their role in a disaster it makes it less chaotic.

Amy Sebring: One of the things I noticed as you went along was the idea of incorporating how to find their local emergency management and that is good to see.

City of Detroit Homeland Security: How does ICS for schools support child care facilities?

Nancy Miller: It relates to childcare facilities only by the principles that are behind it.  It doesn’t matter if it is ICS for schools or the regular ICS program it is pretty much an incident command that talks about what it needs to look like and what needs to happen, who does what—it outlines roles and responsibilities.  It is good information that as childcare providers are going through it they can say what will work in their facility.  I’m not saying it works in all of them but they can pick out what actually will work in theirs.

Margaret Cushing: What guidance do you give for handling traumatic stress in children and staff after a disaster?  

Nancy Miller:  We do actually.  Indiana’s Division of Mental Health Team—we recommend they contact them after a disaster.  That team is trained specifically on how to handle children after a traumatic event.

Amy Sebring:  Part of what you are doing with this guide is to educate these providers as to what resources may be available to support them.

Nancy Miller: Yes absolutely. We all have a little bit of the piece of pie but if I only know what my piece is and I don’t know what that is as far as making our homeland safe and secure—all I know is what I am responsible for, that is all I’m going to look at.  I’m going to go, “I need a school bus.  I don’t know how to get a school bus.”  

I’m not thinking about calling the school next door and asking them to come over and pick up the eight kids I am responsible for in a disaster.  I’m just using that as a general scenario.  Think about this when we talk about our planning considerations.  Think about this and look at those resources.  Really start looking at resources and think outside the box.  

Think about the big picture as far as what you are going to do.  The other thing we talk about in our plan is how media can be your friend or they can be your worst enemy.  Make sure when you are using media you use them to be your friend and not your enemy.

Amy Sebring:  Are you seeing interest in the childcare provider industry in using social media tools to get word out to parents and so forth?

Nancy Miller:  We did not address that in this version of the guide.  That has been something we have already started conversations on for our next version.  That is one of the things we talked about was incorporating that aspect of it.  I have childcare providers that talk about using Facebook, Twitter, text messaging and cell phones to get the word out if there is an issue or having a cookout at ABC Daycare today—come join us.  They use those same areas.

Amy Sebring:  Are you planning to do a future revision?

Nancy Miller:  Absolutely.  We believe no document is ever completely done.  I have a co-worker whose philosophy is that the worst hazardous material in a facility is dust on a plan.


Amy Sebring: Nancy I want to say thank you so much. You obviously do have a passion for this and it definitely comes through. We appreciate you taking the time to be with us today and sharing this information with us.  We wish you the best as you go forward with this effort.

Thanks to everyone for participating today and have a great afternoon! We are adjourned.