Whether it’s natural disasters, man-made ones or unforeseen health risks, an emergency preparedness plan for your learning pod can keep your family safe and keep your children from panicking and making dangerous mistakes.
Earthquakes, fires, blackouts, protests, hurricanes, tornadoes … and a global pandemic. As 2020 has shown us, disasters and unexpected catastrophic events can happen anywhere and affect anyone, at any time.
Being prepared, informed, and ready with a plan of action can mitigate risks and create a calm and confident atmosphere for your Learning Pod, even in moments of crisis.
Here is our step-by-step guide to creating an emergency preparedness plan for your private learning pod school.
STEP 1: Create a Master List
Make sure each Pod Parent and Teacher has a list of all of the children with each parent’s phone number and emergency contact info.
All Pod Parents should also have the emergency contact information for the Pod Teacher.
STEP 2: Understand Your Risks
Make sure all of the parents in your pod understand what types of disasters are most likely to happen in your area. If you live in California, the most common disasters are earthquakes and fires. In other parts of the country, it might be hurricanes or tornadoes, flash floods, etc.
STEP 3: Your Pod School Emergency Action Plans
- What are the escape routes from the Pandemic Pod Activities?
- If your pod regularly gathers in more than one location, have clear and separate instructions for each location.
- What is the Pod’s alternative meeting point if you need to evacuate?
- Typically this would be your closest neighborhood recreation center or park that provides emergency medical and shelter services.
- It could be another Pod’s home that is walking distance for the children.
- If it is unsafe to remain in your neighborhood or officials order an emergency evacuation, what is the designated meeting place outside your immediate area?
- How will all of the children be safely evacuated in case of emergencies?
- Designated cars and car seats for fast transportation.
- Emergency wagon to push with a number of young children if walking is the best emergency response.
- A long rope that children can each hold on to when walking together in a line is the best way to quickly evacuate together.
In some emergency situations, local officials will require everyone to shelter in place. Do you have a safe area large enough for all of the children, your pod school teacher, and parents on-site, to safely shelter in?
This might be a room where windows, vents and doors can be sealed up if necessary. Ideally, this space will be stocked with emergency supplies including first aid, food and, most importantly, water to at least last a few hours, in worst case scenarios.
STEP 4: Communication Backup Plans
There are occasions when cell phones and internet connectivity are disrupted for extended periods. In cases when not every pod member can be reached, who will be the designated out-of-area contact with whom everyone can connect to confirm their safety and location?
Step 5: Assemble Emergency Supplies
Be sure to have a fully stocked disaster kit at the Learning Pod Host Home(s) enough for each child, your teacher, and each parent that lives on site, as well as additional parents who may be at the host home during pod activities.
Your kit will vary based on the types of emergencies prevalent in your area and the needs of the children in your pod.
Essential Pod Emergency Preparedness Items
We’ve assembled a checklist of items you should have in any location that your pod gathers. Some of these can be kept in a bag that’s easy to take with you, others should be stored at each location.
- Medical Supplies
- Food & Water
- Hygiene Products
- Safety Supplies
- Essential Items
Make your checklist based on the above categories or download our complete emergency preparedness form and checklist below.
Keep in mind that should a disaster happen, you might lose power and cell phone networks could get overwhelmed or go down entirely for some time. While you might prefer to create your plan digitally, we recommend keeping hard copies handy.