Parents and grandparents should be asking questions of their children's schools. This goes for pre-school through college. If the school is a local one go to the administrative office and ask these questions:
- I would like to see a copy of this school's emergency management plan? See how long it takes for them to find it and produce it. What is the date on the plan? If it is five years old or older it is very likely out of date.
- Ask, "When was this plan last exercised? I'm not saying a fire drill, but a full on disaster exercise.
- Have local first responders, fire and police, review this plan? Have they participated in exercises?
- Where will my children be taken if the school is evacuated?
- How will I be contacted to inform me of an incident?
- What procedures are in place for the reunification with my child?
- How long are staff prepared to stay with my child if this is a regional event that impacts the teachers and staff who have their own children in other schools?
- What disaster supplies, if any, does the school have in place?
The ability of school administrators and your child's teacher to answer these types of questions will give you a good indication of the preparedness of your school.
Now today, the day of the Sand Hook Elementary School shooting, it might not be seem that pertinent, but...ask these same questions of the care facility that is responsible for your parents or grandparents. These are the nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The issues are the same. I'd add these questions:
- Does this care facility have an emergency generator and what does it power?
- How much fuel is stored on site and how long will the generator provide power with that amount of fuel?
- How often is the generator tested and for how long is it tested?
- Is a "load test" done at least annually?
If you love someone we need to show it by how we look out for their needs.
Pass this blog posting along to others in your network of friends and relatives. It is unfortunate, but we are not motivated many times until there is an incident. Now is the time to follow-up and take action to improve the readiness of the institutions that care for your loved ones.