Caring for Our Childen (CFOC)

Chapter 5: Facilities, Supplies, Equipment, and Environmental Health

5.1 Overall Requirements

5.1.4 Exits

5.1.4.2: Evacuation of Children with Special Health Care Needs and Children with Disabilities

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 05/21/2019.


Early care and education programs that care for children who have physical or developmental disabilities should take all steps necessary for evacuation in the event of an emergency or a disaster. This includes the availability of exit paths and ramps that are clearly marked, identified, and approved by the local building inspector.

 

Children who have mobility limitations, impairments, or who use wheelchairs or other equipment that should be transported with the child (eg, oxygen ventilator) should be located on the ground floor of the facility, or provisions should be made for efficient emergency evacuation to a safe sheltered area. In buildings where the ground floor cannot be used, arrangements should be made to move children to a safe location, such as a fire tower stairwell, during an evacuation.

Children who have special medical or dietary needs should have their medical items and equipment brought along during an evacuation. For example, children with diabetes or asthma, or those requiring an EpiPen, will need items brought along during an evacuation. Children, caregivers/teachers, and visitors requiring wheelchairs should receive proper accommodations in the event of an evacuation. Locating children, caregivers/teachers, and visitors in wheelchairs or those with special equipment on the ground floor may eliminate the need to transport these children down the stairs during an emergency evacuation. Cribs designed to be used as evacuation cribs can be used to evacuate infants and/or children with special health care needs or disabilities.1

Early care and education buildings should meet building code standards for the community, as well as the requirements under access guidelines in the Americans With Disabilities Act.2

RATIONALE

Children with special health care needs are especially vulnerable during emergency and disaster situations.3 Early care and education programs can help ensure the health and safety of these children by being prepared with procedures.

TYPE OF FACILITY
Center, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS
1.1.1.3 Ratios for Facilities Serving Children with Special Health Care Needs and Disabilities
3.6.3.1 Medication Administration
5.1.1.4 Accessibility of Facility
5.1.1.8 Buildings of Wood Frame Construction
REFERENCES
  1. National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness, US Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families Office of Head Start. Emergency Preparedness Manual for Early Childhood Programs. https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/emergency-preparedness-manual-early-childhood-programs.pdf. Accessed December 20, 2018

  2. US Access Board. ADA standards. https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/buildings-and-sites/about-the-ada-standards/ada-standards. Accessed December 20, 2018

  3. Bagwell HB, Liggin R, Thompson T, et al. Disaster preparedness in families with children with special health care needs. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2016;55(11):1036–1043

NOTES

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 05/21/2019.