[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
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
We looked at putting together a team of subject matter experts to put together this planning guide.
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.
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
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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
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
If the childcare center doesn’t open they can’t make money in the process as well. It is a big vicious cycle.
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
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?
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
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.
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?
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
[Audience Questions & Answers]
Amy Sebring: You issued this fairly recently. Have you
had a chance to receive any feedback from childcare providers on the
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
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
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
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
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
Thanks to everyone for participating today and have a great afternoon! We are adjourned.