Resources and Tools
Emergency Planning Guide for Child-Serving Organizations
Step 7: Practice your emergency plan on a regular basis and update as needed
Having an emergency plan in place is important, but you must practice it to ensure that you can carry out the necessary actions in an emergency situation.
In particular, it is important to practice evacuation, shelter in place, and lockdown procedures with children and their families*. Practice drills are recommended every six months and should be scheduled in advance, with notice provided to parents and preparing staff. You can include the schedule for practice activities in your emergency planning calendar. Drills related to seasonal weather-related emergencies should also be planned in advance of when severe weather is expected.
You should also consider participating in larger community-based drills or exercises. This will help you to build relationships with the relevant response organizations and to improve the coordination between your plan and theirs.
Finally, after each practice you should review your activities and update the plan as needed.
* Lockdown and shelter in place refer to situations in which all people present at a facility at one time need to remain in the facility, either for their immediate safety (primarily in the case of lockdowns) or because the facility is the best option for providing shelter for the children, staff, volunteers, visitors to the facility, and, in some cases, other members of the community who do not have shelter elsewhere.
The actions recommended above apply to a range of types of emergencies. We have reviewed and compiled additional resources that are emergency-specific. Please see the Recommended Links section for more information about preparedness actions your organization can take.