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Childcare Marketing would like to send out their condolences to the people in Oklahoma affected by the tornadoes. We know it’s been a tough time and we’d like to send our thoughts and prayers to those going through this difficult tragedy.

These events present a time to reflect on unforeseen circumstances that can strike at our businesses and what we can do to prepare and protect ourselves. It’s important for you as a child care business owner to have a plan, train your staff on the plan, and communicate the plan to parents. No business is insulated from the possibilities of disaster and having an emergency plan that you can communicate to parents gives you an advantage. This not only makes your child care business better equipped, but it can also be a great selling point! The emergency plan lets the parent know you are prepared and that you truly care about the security and safety of their children. It also lets them know they can trust you.

Take some time to think about different emergency situations that could emerge at your business. There are various possibilities to think about during a general assessment – the children, employees, facilities, security breaches, data backup, and more. It’s helpful to get employees involved with this process and ask them of situations that they think could arise. They can take some time to do this during children’s naps. Part of this general assessment also includes finding gaps in your emergency plan and taking the necessary steps to fix them!

Write your emergency plan based on the different situations you have identified. Involve your staff in this as well. The more involved they are in the process, the more ownership they will take with the plan and the better trained they will be on the plan. You could also offer an incentive, such as a team building retreat, once the process of building an initial emergency plan is completed.

Train your staff on the plans. This shouldn’t be done only once. Set yourself a reminder to sit down with your staff and go over the safety plans on a routine basis. Every staff member needs to be empowered on what to do in an emergency situation, in case you aren’t there.

Most importantly, communicate the plan with parents! Most parents don’t exactly know what they are looking for in a child care center. When giving tours, you have the opportunity to bring up not only the fact that you have a state of the art, secure facility but also that you have a great disaster team in your employees and written plans of action in the case of an emergency. You can even pull out the plan and show them, while also letting them know that every member of your staff has been trained on it. This will give parents just another reason to choose your facility over your competition!