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Section 2: Emergency Preparedness: Natural and Human Generated Disasters

Crisis situations can take many forms and occur at any time. A disaster, whether human generated or natural, may threaten a facility where young children are present. Depending on where the facility is located, natural disasters range from fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, to floods. Unfortunately, these are not the only kinds of emergencies adults who work with young children must plan for. The terrorist attack of 9/11 and news of various school shootings have underscored the critical importance of emergency preparedness of all kinds. Although years may go by without a crisis, when a critical situation presents itself, adults must be able to respond quickly and effectively. Advance planning is essential.

Early childhood professionals should prepare for large scale dangers, such as ecological disasters or terrorist attacks, the same way they prepare for emergencies involving individuals: by first identifying the kind of crisis that may occur, analyzing the risks it poses, and determining steps to prevent and cope with the dangerous situation. This week, you will continue to work on your course project by creating Section 2, “Emergency Preparedness: Natural and Human Generated Disasters.” You will select and investigate a crisis situation caused by two different disasters and draft a plan for dealing with each one.

  • Think of two specific dangers or disaster scenarios that could threaten an early childhood environment in the area where you live.( Georgia) Review and/or familiarize yourself with relevant information and guidelines using the following resources:
    • Read through relevant sections of the American Red Cross ( and FEMA ( Web sites.
    • Refer to the “Reality Check” sections on pages 199–201 (“Creating an Emergency Natural Disaster Plan for Your Early Childhood Education Environment”) and pages 203–204 (“Human Generated Disasters”) of your course text, and identify the appropriate planning steps for the disasters you selected.

For this section of your course project, complete the following:

  • Describe each of the disaster scenarios you have chosen (such as a hurricane that has quickly developed in your area) and a real or hypothetical early childhood setting (such as a Head Start program housed on a university campus near the coast). What are the main dangers posed by these situations? Who is at risk?
  • Explain why you and your colleagues should be prepared. What are the consequences of not being prepared?
  • Summarize the appropriate steps you would take to develop a plan in advance for this disaster and how you would deal with it if it occurs.

Be sure to:

  • Explain how you would assess the risks.
  • Identify potential complications created by this disaster besides the main disaster/danger itself.
  • Describe any other steps you and/or your early childhood program should take to be prepared to handle this kind of crisis. What kinds of materials or documentation (e.g., first aid supplies, family emergency contact information, and so on) would be necessary and/or helpful?
  • Explain how you might involve the families of the children in your care.
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