Responding to Fires and Earthquakes

Responding to Fires and Earthquakes Earthquake Response – Drop, Cover, and Hold On In order to be prepared to respond when there is an earthquake, teachers should identify safe places. A safe place could be under a sturdy table or desk or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on teachers and children. The shorter the distance to move to safety, the less likely that someone will be injured. Everyone should practice drop, cover, and hold on. Have children go under a table (or desk if school-age) and hold on to one leg of the table or desk. Have them protect their eyes by keeping their head down.


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If an earthquake occurs inside, everyone should drop, cover, and hold on until the shaking stops. Teachers should then check everyone for injuries and look for things that may have fallen or broken that may now be a hazard (including fire). If evacuation is necessary, everyone should use stairs. If an earthquake occurs when people are outdoors, they should stay outside, moving away from buildings, trees, streetlights and overhead lines, crouching down and covering their heads. Many injuries occur within ten feet of the entrance to buildings. Bricks, roofing and other materials can fall from buildings, injuring persons nearby. Trees, streetlights and overhead lines may also fall, causing damage or injury.62 Fire Response Programs should have clear escape routes drawn on floor plans that note all doors, windows, and potential barriers. Every room should have two escape routes, which should be kept open/accessible at all times. And the evacuation site (and a backup evacuation site/temporary shelter) should be identified. These plans should be posted in every room and all program

staff and families should be familiar with these (and regularly practice them). If a fire occurs, 911 should be called immediately. A designated staff person should get the current record of the attendance and the emergency contact information for all of the children. As the children and staff evacuate, each should be noted so that no one is left behind. No one should go back into the building once it has been evacuated Everyone should proceed to the evacuation site or temporary shelter. For children that cannot yet walk (infants, toddlers, or children with mobility impairments) a large wagon, or emergency crib on wheels, or similar equipment can be used for evacuation.