Is my Program Safe?

by the Quality Specialist team, Denver’s Early Childhood Council

Denver's Early Childhood Coucil

In light of the threat of violence that shut down entire school districts, including many early care and learning centers across the Denver metro last week, we think that now is a good opportunity to share some tips and resources to ensure child care programs are confident in planning and carrying out your emergency preparedness procedures, as well as ways to talk with children in developmentally appropriate ways about violence, disasters and tragedies. While these topics can be sensitive and downright uncomfortable to think about, it is critical that you have plans in place in case you ever need them.


Child Care Aware has created quick reference printable infographic that lists tips in order of urgency, starting with prevention, evacuation, barricade and hide, and lastly, fight if an active shooter were to enter your space.

Child Care Aware – Keeping Kids Safe – The Basics of Active Shooter Response for Child Care Programs: this webinar runs slightly over one hour but contains thorough steps to take in dealing with violence, such as an active shooter event.


Save the Children and Child Care Aware, along with University of Michigan and University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital put together a 68-slide, albeit easy-to-read presentation on childcare emergency preparedness, covering why preparedness matters, identifying risks and hazards, national best practices and updating and practicing your plan. It also has some great Q & A at the end.

Here is a sample template of a childcare emergency action plan developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA recommends you coordinate with local law enforcement, fire, and emergency managers when developing your emergency action plan.

The Colorado Office of Early Childhood has an entire Support, Resources and Guides page, including Disaster Preparation Resources to get you started. Topics such as an emergency plans, disaster safety for people with disabilities, flu information, traumatic stress, winter storm safety and more can be found here.


The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has a good list of online guides, videos and books on how to talk with children in about coping with violence and other traumatic events.

Zero-to-Three created Shelter from the Storm, a downloadable guide containing a developmentally appropriate lens on planning for the emotional response that occurs in the face of potential disaster, and in the wake of disaster, including ways to support young children, their families, AND self-care for teachers.

If you would like to schedule a consultation or an on-site walk-through with one of our Quality Specialists to create a new (or review your existing) emergency/disaster preparedness plan, please contact Dora at

Are you in need of Emergency/Disaster Preparedness training for your program? Please indicate your interest level by completing this very quick survey.

Editor’s note: we are able to provide services for child care programs within the city and county of Denver. If your program is outside of this geography, check with your early childhood council about available resources. 

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