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Emergency Preparedness Resources for Child Care Programs

Published: September 13, 2012
Special Initiatives
Emergency & Disaster Preparedness

The following is a sample of Federal agencies, national organizations, and publications that have information for child care providers about emergency preparedness and disaster response. OCC does not endorse any non-Federal organization, publication, or resource.

Federal Agencies and Federally Funded Projects

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

CDC is the agency responsible for developing and applying disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion and education activities for the country. Information and resources about responding to many types of emergencies are available on the Emergency Preparedness and Response page of the CDC’s Web site at http://emergency.cdc.gov/.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

202-282-8000 (citizen line)

DHS has responsibility for ensuring that emergency response professionals are prepared in the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or other large-scale emergency. This entails providing a coordinated, comprehensive Federal response to any large-scale crisis and mounting a swift and effective recovery effort. DHS also prioritizes citizen preparedness. Special attention is given to educating America’s families about how best to prepare their homes for a disaster and how to respond in a crisis.

The State Homeland Security and Emergency Services Web page lists agencies in each State that work with local government emergency managers, other State agencies, voluntary organizations, and Federal agencies to ensure comprehensive, efficient, and effective responses to emergencies and disasters. This information is available at www.dhs.gov/state-homeland-security-and-emergency-services.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

800-621-3362 (disaster assistance)

FEMA is a former independent agency that became part of DHS in March 2003. Since its founding in 1979, FEMA’s mission is to prepare the Nation for all hazards and effectively manage Federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA provides a comprehensive, risk-based, emergency management program through mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. 

  • FEMA works with other federal partners to support Ready.gov, a national campaign designed to educate and empower the American people to prepare for, respond to and mitigate emergencies, including natural and man-made disasters. Ready and its Spanish language version Listo ask individuals to do four key things: (1) stay informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses (2) make a family emergency plan and (3)  build an emergency supply kit, and (4) get involved in your community by taking action to prepare for emergencies.

    These resources are available at Ready.gov

  • The FEMA for Kids Web site gives activity ideas for children to learn about disasters, provides resources for further study, and offers activity ideas for parents and teachers. http://www.ready.gov/kids
  • The Resources for Parents and Teachers Web site includes lecture materials, suggested classroom exercises, and sources for more information in support of World Disaster Reduction Day, which is celebrated on October 14 both in this country and around the world.

National Commission on Children and Disasters


In an effort to create a coordinated response to the needs of children in disaster recovery, the U.S. Congress created the National Commission on Children and Disasters, which made recommendations to Congress and the President about how to provide comprehensive services to children and families who are victims of disasters. National Commission on Children and Disasters: 2010 Report to the President and Congress (October 2010), includes recommendations about preparing the child care sector to respond to the needs of children, families, and providers.

The report includes the following recommendations with regard to child care and addresses them in detail:

  • Recommendation 6.1: Congress and HHS should improve disaster preparedness capabilities for child care.
  • Recommendation 6.2: Congress and Federal agencies should improve capacity to provide child care services in the immediate aftermath of and recovery from a disaster.
  • Recommendation 6.3: HHS should require disaster preparedness capabilities for Head Start Centers and basic disaster mental health training for staff.

The full report is available on the Commission’s Web site at http://cybercemetery.unt.edu/archive/nccd/20110427002908/http:/www.ch....

Office of Child Care

Administration for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

National Organizations

American Red Cross National Headquarters

Disaster assistance information: 866-GET-INFO (866-438-4636)

The American Red Cross is a great source of information for people, families, schools, and child care provides looking for recommendations on what to do before, during, and after all kinds of emergencies. These recommendations are available at https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/type....

Center for Public Health and Disasters (CPHD)

University of California, Los Angeles

CPHD was established in 1997 to address the critical issues that arise when a disaster impacts a community. It provides extensive information focusing on emergency and disaster and public health. CPHD offers resources for hazard risk assessment, incident action planning, and pandemic flu preparedness. These resources are available at http://www.cphd.ucla.edu/tools-and-resources.

Related Publications

Last Reviewed: December 21, 2018