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Day Care & Child Care Facilities

Published on: 2/13/2013 4:18 PM

​The California Department of Social Services/Community Care Licensing regulates child care programs including family child care homes and child care centers. It is the intent of the state to provide children with a safe day care environment. To this end, the state requires, as a condition of licensure, that child care licensees have the proper procedures in place and training to effectively handle and respond to various types of emergencies and disasters.

Home Based Day Care
Set your own procedures for evacuating the child care home in the event of emergencies. Practice both procedures periodically with the children. Get the older children to help you.
Consider the traffic pattern in your home. Are all exits clear? Can windows be opened easily?
Ask your local fire department to come and inspect your home. Many fire departments have a campaign to distribute stickers to be placed in the windows of rooms where children sleep or spend a lot of time. Information, cartoons, and storybooks that deal with fire safety also may be available.
Teach Stop, Drop, and Roll. Have a firefighter demonstrate how to put out clothing fires so the children will know how to react in an emergency.
Install smoke alarms in strategic places such as the living room, playroom, and bedroom. Check them every month.
Keep a fire extinguisher handy and learn how to use it.
Practice an escape drill. Make sure that the children realize that in a real fire, it would be important for them to stay out of the house-no running back in for toys, pets, or clothing.
Arrange with a neighbor to shelter the children (in case you need to evacuate the house in cold or wet weather) and to let you use the telephone to call for help. Never call the fire department from your own home. Your first obligation must be to get all the children out safely.
Day Care Agencies 
  • Stay calm.
  • Evacuate immediately if there is any personal danger.
  • Follow any instructions from emergency agency personnel regarding relocation or evacuation.
  • Close as many other doors between you and fire as possible.
  • Walk down nearest stairway. Do not use elevators.
  • Help relocate employees from adjoining areas if there is danger from spreading fire or smoke.
  • Proceed directly to any designated relocation or assembly area.
    • If smoke or heat is present:
      • Stay low, following the wall toward an exit.
      • Take frequent short breaths through your nose.
      • If possible, hold a cloth in front of your nose (do not wet the cloth; it could cause a steam burn).
    • If trained and if safe:
      • Suppress the fire using the proper fire extinguisher.
  • Eliminate potential hazards in classrooms and throughout the site.
  • Bolt bookcases in high traffic areas securely to wall studs.
  • Move heavy books and items from high to low shelves.
  • Secure and latch filing cabinets.
  • Secure cabinets in high traffic areas with child safety latches.
  • Secure aquariums, computers, typewriters, TVs and VCR equipment to surfaces, using Velcro tabs.
  • Make provisions for securing rolling portable items such as TV/VCRs, pianos and refrigerators.
  • Move children’s activities and play areas away from windows, or protect windows with blinds or adhesive plastic sheeting.
  • Secure water heater to wall using plumber’s tape.
  • Assess and determine possible escape routes.
Earthquake Preparedness Activities for Child-Care Providers.
California Office of Emergency Services, 1989. 54 pp.
(Available from ABAG, as Pub. No. P89002BAR, $8.00 plus $2.00 postage and handling)
Earthquake Preparedness: What Every Childcare Provider Should Know(Video).
California Office of Emergency Services, 1993.
(Available from ABAG, as Pub. No. P93003BAR, $10.00 plus $5.00 postage and handling)