Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OCFS

Required Evacuation Drills Clarification

Here’s the initial response: ANY type of emergency disaster drill counts…some options that could be practiced: shelter in place, lost child, simulated relocation (staff, NOT KIDS TRANSPORTED unsafely in cars), severe weather, unknown person/suspicious situation, coming inside due to an emergency, etc.

Here’s the clarification: The language of the Licensing Rule specifies a requirement for 2 evacuation drills in rule SECTION 14. ENVIRONMENT AND SAFETY /Q. Emergency preparedness plan / 2. The Provider must conduct an evacuation drill at least twice a year and the dates must be recorded and be available for review. (Same section for Facility Rule. Q/2 language: The Child Care Facility must conduct an evacuation drill at least twice a year and the dates must be recorded and be available for review. A simulated drill is acceptable.)

The key word is “evacuation“.

Shelter-in-place drills of any kind that do not include evacuation, do not meet the emergency drill needed for rule compliance.


Let’s look at this more:

  • You already do monthly fire drills with the smoke alarm.
  • You already have a running log for fire drills.
  • You need to add 2 noted Evacuation drills to that log.
  • Reminder: FCC Rule Section 5/A-5: A record of fire drills for the preceding three years must be available for inspection by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Public Safety, State Fire Marshal’s Office, and local fire inspectors.
  • For fire drills, you use different exits.

Practice any of the other types of safety drills you think would support the children, such as shelter-in-place, reverse evacuation, medical emergency and lost child. Log any Safety Drill you practice.

For evacuation drill:

  • Simulate it: practice the steps to gather and leave. Use the language specific to evacuation vs fire.
  • As part of your Emergency Preparedness Plan you should have multiple alternate sites you could evacuate to. It is recommended to have one you can walk to. For a walking site you could actually gather and leave your premises.
  • You are not required to transport children off the premises. If you do transport children as part of your program, you can practice transporting as part of your drill. If you do not transport, you can practice what loading everyone into a vehicle would be like in an emergency. Simulating this does not put any child in harms way as your vehicle is not running at any point. You just practice loading in, sitting still, and unloading. You could then pretend you are at the safe site and what would you do there?

Author:

FCCAM works to unify, promote and strengthen quality professional family child care in Maine. We understand the critical role of child care providers in the lives of children and families. Through collaboration with other organizations we work to increase awareness of our profession and the value of a strong child care system to Maine's diverse communities.