Earthplace Preschool Policies and Procedures

Emergency Preparedness Procedures

1.  Number of children and staff 
The Westport Police, Fire, and Health Departments know that we are a licensed prechool. On a daily basis the maximum number of children and staff who could be in attendance is as follows:  

          Ratio of children/teachers
         Chickadees                8/3
          AM Juniors             16/3
          AM Seniors            18/3
          Lunch Club             18/3
          PM Juniors             16/3
          PM Seniors             18/3
          Fives                       11/2

Additional staff: Director, assistants to the director

2.  Location of the school: 10 Woodside Lane, Westport, CT 06880

3.  Emergency announcements 

Codes for emergencies
Red -    Fire
White -  Serious medical emergency: Call ambulance.
Green -  Weather/natural disaster emergency: Evacuate to Natureplace.
Purple -  Other outside emergency: Evacuate to Natureplace.
Black -    Immediate threat: Lock down building.
Blue -     Lost child

Contacting classes in the building
We can announce an emergency through our:

  •      Public address system 
  •      Walkie-talkies
  •      Fire alarm system (located in each classroom and other parts of the building, it sets off the alarm and alerts the Fire Department) 
  •      In person

Notification of weather or other emergencies
Sirens: They are located in Saugatuck shores and are tested monthly. Sirens are used to warn of flood events or other situations that might require evacuation. In our location we do not hear the siren and should then depend on other means of notification.

Radio: Emergency announcements are sent out from Staples Radio WWPT 90.3 FM, the designated radio station for the Town of Westport. 

Website: The Town of Westport website is updated with emergency information, as it is made available by the Westport Emergency Operations Center.

Alternate emergency communication: Our radio has back-up batteries to keep us informed of emergencies.

Weather alert via computer: Weather Channel is on the preschool computer at Earthplace and alerts us to weather emergencies.

Contacting outside of Earthplace (emergency notification numbers)
Medical, Fire, Rescue:                                    911 
American Red Cross:                                      203-227-9595
Kings Highway School: our remote shelter: 203-341-1800
Westport Emergency Evacuation Hotline:    203- 454-6199
Bus company to help with evacuation: First Student Bus Company, Wilton, CT, 203-762-5093                                                            

Contacting Parents
Phone numbers locations 
Group Notebook: Each group has a notebook that contains all of the parents' contact numbers including home, cel,l and business numbers. This goes with each group at all times, both indoors and outdoors. 

Lunch Club notebook: The Chickadees contact information is also in this book.                          
Originals: These are kept in the main office.

Contact procedure
One person from each group would be able to call either using their cell phones.

Email contact location and procedure
All parent email addresses are available through a web-based email system and can be accessed by smart phone or a computer. The alternate coordinator can email all parents from a computer in the preschool office.

4.  Earthplace site plan

Posting of plan
The Emergency Exit Plan is posted in each room and includes the location of rooms, doors, and windows, and obstacles, fire extinguishers, and fire alarms.  Two unobstructed routes from each classroom have been labeled: 
  Initial meeting places and secondary meeting places:
  1. The front playground and the house located at the entrance of the Earthplace property, 14 Woodside Lane.
  2. The indoor safe space is Natureplace.

5.  Disaster plans

Emergency Management Coordinator: EMC: Amee Borys, Preschool Director 
Alternate Coordinator: AC:  TBD

A. Fire: Pull fire alarm

Notification of fire and initial procedures 
Fire Alarm: all staff members are responsible for notifying the school of a fire by pulling the fire alarm. This also alerts the Fire Department that there is a fire at our facility.

Classes evacuate:  The groups would then evacuate by exiting through the closest door as designated on the chart posted in their rooms and then going to their assigned meeting place. 

Sweep of rooms: This is done by the director.

Initial fire/disaster meeting place location:

  • Chickadees: Meet by the bike path on the preschool playground.
  • Hummingbirds: Meet by the sandbox on the preschool playground.
  • Woodpeckers: Meet by the wooden boat on the preschool playground.
  • Falcons: Meet by the kiosk by the Universal Trail.
  • Lunch Club: Meet by the spider web on the preschool playground.

Groups meeting together:  Teachers are advised that if they have children from one group in two different areas, they are to walkie-talkie each other and then meet in their designated spot outdoors if it is safe to do so.

Taking attendance:  Lead teacher takes attendance and reports the results to the EMC, either by walkie-talkie or when EMC comes to the group.

Assessing the dituation:  The Emergency Management Coordinator and/or the Alternate Coordinators then assess the situation. 

The groups would then be asked to either:

  • Stay where they are
  • Relocate to one of two secondary meeting places, or
  • Return to their rooms

Two decondary relocation places:
In the event that it is deemed necessary to move further away from the building, or an evacuation from the site is necessary, the two places to meet are:
     1. The slide and swings on the front playground.
     2. At the  house near the front entrance to Earthplace.

Evacuating:  The Emergency Management Coordinator or an Alternate Coordinator would then decide, in conjunction with the Westport Fire Department, if further evacuation were necessary.

Contacting parents regarding further evacuation or need to be picked up
Parents would be contacted using the staff cell phones and group notebooks that contain the home and emergency numbers of each child. These also include alternate contact people, if the parents cannot be located. If we did not have to further evacuate, parents would be asked to pick up their children at the executive director’s house. If we were evacuating to Kings Highway School, the parents would be so informed.

Transportation to evacuation site
If the children needed to be evacuated away from the Earthplace property, an agreement with the bus company has been made with First Student Bus Company in Wilton, Connecticut. The school would be escorted by the Westport Fire or the Police Department.

B.  Medical emergency - Code White

Who may administer first aid
First aid may be administered to children by all staff members who have current certification in the required American Red Cross Connecticut Childcare First Aid Course (certification is good for 3 years). CPR may be administered to children by all staff members who have current certification in the required American Red Cross CPR (certification is good for one year). Adult First Aid and CPR: Several staff are always current with Adult CPR and First Aid. These staff could administer aid to the Earthplace Preschool staff or any additional adult present.

Staff responsibilities and procedures
In case of a medical emergency involving a student the following procedures will be followed:

Attending to child:  Teacher #1, a trained staff member, attends to the child in need.

Calling 911
If Teacher #1 feels that calling 911 is necessary, he or she asks Teacher #2 to call 911. If the class is on a trail or is not close to the phone, Teacher #2 will walkie-talkie the Earthplace front desk and alert them that this is a Code Red; the front desk staff member calls 911 and gives the critical information to the 911 operator: 
     Name of child, nature of the injury 
     Our location: Earthplace, 10 Woodside Lane, Westport, CT 06880

Attending to other children:  Teacher # 3 supervises the rest of the children in the class and removes them from the scene if possible. The teacher-child ratios are kept, 1 to 10 for the Hummingbirds, Robins, Woodpeckers, and Falcons and 1:4 for the Chickadees.

Continuing first aid:  Teacher #1 continues to administer first aid.

Contacting the Emergency Management Coordinator, EMC or Alternate Coordinator, AC:  Teacher # 2 then contacts an EMC or the AC. Walkie-talkies are available in each group to facilitate this communication. 

Calling the parents:  The EMC or the AC then calls the child's parents or legal guardians to inform them of the situation.

Going to the hospital:  If the child is to go to the hospital in an ambulance, Teacher # 1 goes with the child and brings the Emergency Authorization Form from the group notebook with her.

Primary site for emergency care:  Norwalk Hospital has been informed that we would use their services in an emergency.

Writing the Injury Report:  Teacher # 2 fills out the Injury Report. This will be given to the parents.

Maintaining records:  A copy of all reports is kept in the Illness and Injury Log in the Director's office. 

C. Taking shelter in the building
     Weather/Natural Disaster-Code Green 
     Other Emergency-Code Purple

Alerting the school by public address system
The Emergency Management Coordinator or an Alternate Coordinator would instruct the administrative assistant to alert the staff via the public address system of the immediate need to take shelter in Natureplace, which has been designated by the Fire Department as a safe space, because it has no windows. This could be due to weather or other emergencies including, but not limited to, severe thunder and lightning, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or bomb threats.

Alerting the school by walkie-talkie or in person
In case of telephone and electrical failure the Emergency Management Coordinator and the Alternate Coordinator would either walkie-talkie or personally tell each group if they were to stay in the building in their room, or go to Natureplace. The walkie-talkies are kept in the front office, prechool office, and each classroom.

Gather all children in Natureplace, which has been designated by the Fire Marshal as the safest place in the building. 

Alerting parents
We will use cell phones to inform parents of the need to take shelter.

Shelter supplies
Location of shelter supplies: Room 12, located in the basement. The key is kept with other prechool keys in the preschool office. We have water, flashlights, batteries, a portable radio, toilet paper, and blankets. Additionally we have enough food to provide for the maximum preschool population for 72 hours stored in the preschool kitchen and Room 12. 

Procedure for getting supplies
One teacher from each room is asked by the lead teacher to retrieve food and supplies from the preschool kitchen and Room 12.

Important information about children
Teachers have group notebooks that include the class list with telephone numbers, attendance record, Emergency Authorization, and Authorization for the Administration of Medicine Forms with them at all times. 

D.  Evacuation: Staff responsibilities in case of need to evacuate from the building or from the secondary site

Emergency Management Coordinator (preschool director):

  1. Initial announcement: Makes the initial announcement either in person or by public address system
  2. Attendance: Checks with each group to make sure that all are accounted for and shares this information with the Alternate Coordinator.
  3. Acts as contact with Fire, Police and other emergency rescue teams
  4. Decision to move from initial evacuation site: To Natureplace (in case of weather or other evacuation), or to secondary cite at front playground, or to executive director's house.
  5. Evacuation site: Makes decision with Fire Department to evacuate to off-site shelter at Kings Highway Elementary School. Calls Kings Highway to alert of evacuation. Calls bus company to alert for need for transportation.
  6. Communication with parents: Directs teachers to contact and inform parents and legal guardians of the emergency.

Alternate Coordinator (Administrative Assistant):  

  1. Initial announcements: Works in conjunction with the EMC to make initial announcements. 
  2. Walkie-talkie: Takes this with him/her.
  3. Meets emergency teams: Goes to the front of the building to meet teams and passes on information from the director.

Teacher responsibilities:

Lead Teacher: Brings the group notebook and a walkie-talkie. The group notebook includes a group list, children’s individual Emergency Authorization Form, Authorization for the Administration of Medication forms (in case of allergies), and the emergency procedure plans. Assigns the two assistants to be either Teacher #1 or Teacher #2. Their responsibilities are:

Teacher # 1: Carries the first aid kit, closes windows and doors, turns off the lights and ventilation system in the room, makes final sweep of the room, and carries a walkie-talkie.

Teacher # 2: Carries bags with children's medications and carries a walkie-talkie.

Takes attendance: Immediately upon arriving at the evacuation site. An attendance check is done at each step in the evacuation process, including arrival at Kings Highway School.

Waits: For the Emergency Management Coordinator or Alternate Coordinator to come to them or to contact them by walkie-talkie to check attendance. 

Contacting parents: Once the evacuation or taking shelter has begun, Teacher #2 would begin to call parents on his or her cell phone to let them know the plan for their children.

E.  Lost child procedure - Code Blue

Policies to Prevent a Lost Child:

Attendance:  Attendance is taken at the beginning of each class. All teachers are made aware of how many children are in the class each day. When children leave early or come late, the attendance book is immediately updated, and all of the teachers in the group are alerted to the change in the number of children present. Daily attendance totals and names of absent children are reported to the preschool office by walkie-talkie. 

Counting children:  When changing to another room, going outside, or coming inside, the children are counted by all teachers present, and the teachers agree that this is the correct number of children present.

Supervision:  When walking on a trail or through the building there is always a teacher in the lead and a teacher in the rear.

When a child is lost:  When the realization is made that a child is no longer with the group, the following procedure is followed:

Communication to rest of preschool and building:  The Lead Teacher walkie- talkies everyone of the Code Blue, the number of children missing, and from which class or classes. The receptionist in the front office announces a Code Blue to the entire building over the public address system including the child's description. 

Call 911 immediately:  The Emergency Management Coordinator or the Alternate Emergency Coordinator provides the following information:
     Child’s name and age
     Address of preschool: Earthplace, 10 Woodside Lane, Westport, CT 06880
     Child’s address
     Physical and clothing description, including any distinguishing marks
     Medical status if appropriate
     Person with whom the child was last seen

Notify parents of missing child:  The EMC or AMC is responsible. 

All classes go into lost child procedure:
Indoors: The teachers lock the doors from the inside and gather the children into a group and take attendance.
Outdoors: The teachers gather their class into a group sitting down, take attendance, and  then go to their classroom.

Sweep of the premises:
     Playground: The EMC does a sweep of the playground and building
     Preschool: The AC does a sweep of the nursery school
     Classroom: A teacher in each room does a sweep of the classroom
     Building: Employees all check their areas and report to the EMC
     Maintenance coordinator: Checks the common areas and downstairs areas

Meeting the police: The AC goes to meet the police at the front of the building.

Classrooms:  All classes stay in a lock-down situation until the police tell us otherwise or the child is found.

Sweep of the property:  A search of the parking lot and the trails is done with the help of the police and Earthplace staff.

Found child:  If at any point the child/children are located, an announcement is made via public address system to alert all staff. 

Reporting Incident:  Report incident to Connecticut Department of Public Health (1-800-282-6063) and the Department of Children and Family Services (1-800-842-2288). Complete a written incident report at the earliest opportunity.

F.  Lock-down procedure - Code Black

All staff members are responsible for alerting the building for the need of a lock-down.

The reasons for a lock-down:  Security threats including the following:

  • Suspicious person
  • Individual with a weapon
  • Loud unexplained noise
  • Angry person
  • Person trying to see or pick up a child who is not allowed to do so
  • Alert from town that a lock-down is necessary

Lock-down notification:

  • Staff member gets on walkie-talkie and calls for a Code Black and indicates the unsafe area. 
  • Staff at front desk page entire building calling for a Code Black and indicates the unsafe area. 
  • AC calls 911 with the help of the person who knows what the problem is and alerts police of lock-down.

Lock-down procedure:

  • Teachers gather their students in their classrooms. If a classroom is not a safe place, the teachers bring their students to another classroom. 
  • If the children are outside, go to a safe classroom.
  • If the children are in Natureplace, stay and put the space into lock-down, by locking all outside doors and go into the movie area.
  • Lock the doors, pull the shades, and take attendance. 
  • Teachers keep the classrooms in lock-down until the Westport Police Department advises them otherwise.

6.  Sharing, practice drills, and updating the plan

Staff:  The plan will be shared with the staff yearly at a meeting. Each staff member will be given a copy of the plan for their Personnel Handbook. The plan will be in each group notebook. When new staff is hired, the plan will be discussed with them. When the EMC or AC changes the plan, all of the above will be updated.

Parents:  The plan will be included in the Parent Handbook, posted on the prechool bulletin board, discussed at a parent meeting, and posted on our website. 

Westport Fire Department, Westport Police Department, and Weston-Westport Health District:  The plan will be shared with these entities, and their advice on the effectiveness of the policies will be solicited. Policies will be changed in accordance with their expert advice.

Fire drills:  The staff and children will conduct fire drills on a monthly basis.

Taking shelter , lock-down, lost child, and evacuation drills:  Each will be practiced once a year by the teachers. 

7.  Items and procedure checklist of all emergencies

The Lead Teacher, who has the group notebook and walkie-talkie, leads class out, takes attendance, assigns teachers to be #1 or #2, and assigns one teacher to get shelter supplies from the kitchen and Room 12 when needed. 

Teacher #1, who carries first aid kit, closes the windows, doors, lights, and ventilation system, does a final sweep, and helps to call parents via cell phone if an evacuation has taken place.

Teacher #2, who carries medication fanny packs and a walkietalkie, helps to call parents via cell phone if an evacuation has taken place.

Emergency Management Coordinator - preschool director, who takes a walkie-talkie, communicates with each group and with the AC in regard to attendance and the need for further evacuation. He/she also communicates with  Fire, Police, or Health Department when needed.

Alternate Coordinator who gets the master notebook from the Lunch Club room, does classroom sweeps, goes to the front of the building to meet fire trucks, ambulance, and/or police, communicates with the EMC and emails parents of emergency status when possible.

Staff members bring cell phones.