After the Emergency
Topic 5 Page 23
You put a lot of time and thought into preparing for an emergency. Now that you have survived one, how well did your plan work? Do not guess at the answer. Assess how each step in the plan worked for children, parents, staff, and local emergency officials. Despite your best efforts to reassure and present a calm, safe environment, staff and children may experience some distress. Signs and symptoms of distress may be withdrawal or depression, feelings of helplessness, uncharacteristic acting out or anti-social behavior, or physical symptoms such as headache, bladder/bowel problems, chest pains, and changes in eating and sleeping patterns.
While professional assistance may be needed, you can help overcome this post-traumatic stress by giving them correct information about the disaster, letting them help put things back to normal, and providing opportunities to talk and share their feelings. Now is the time to plan for the next emergency. Rewrite your Emergency/Disaster Plan if your evaluation shows the need. Restock the emergency supplies you used.
- Public Health - Seattle & King County Disaster and emergency preparedness resources
- Sample Disaster Plan (from the Child Care Licensing Guidebook)
- Sample Parent Communication Letter PDF File
- Helping Children Cope in the Wake of Tragedy or Disaster by Karen Stephens, 2005 Child Care Information Exchange
- Planning and Preparing for Emergencies for Schools and Childcare Centers, CDC
- Emergency Disaster Preparedness for Child Care Programs, National Health and Safety Performance Standards: Guidelines for Out-of-Home Child Care, American Academy of Pediatrics
- After the Disaster: Helping Children and Families Cope (booklet pdf) Designed to assist families to help their children cope through the “storm” of any disastrous or traumatic situation.