Icon of a house with a earthquake crack in itAs you read through this earthquake scenario, use your practice checklist to ensure each step of the response is being followed.

Scenario 1: Snack Time

During snack time, you see milk sloshing in glasses and believe that this could signal an earthquake or tremor. You quickly count the children and then calmly tell them and staff that an earthquake is happening and remind them of the response procedure: “drop, cover, and hold on.” Since you have practiced this before, the children know to drop to their hands and knees so the earthquake doesn’t knock them down. They also know to cover their heads and necks with their arms. Because this is occurring during snack time, the children crawl under the table and hold on to a sturdy object, such as a table leg or chair leg. Teachers alert the director that they are all safely sheltered and will remain where they are.

Here’s where it can change:

  1. As you and the children are safely taking cover, beverages splash off the table, and items begin to fall off the shelves. As the shaking becomes more severe, children start screaming and crying. Continue to take shelter under the tables and ensure that children are comforted and safe until the event is over.
  2. Once the shaking stops and you get the all clear from whomever is in charge, tell the children that it is safe to come out from under the table. Check for and treat any injuries. If there is a clear path to safety, leave the building and go to an open space away from damaged areas. If you cannot leave the building, alert rescuers to your location using your cell phone, radio, or whistle.

Questions to consider while reading

Scenario 2: Infants in Your Early Childcare

Education Program

You are changing an infant’s diaper and your assistant caregiver has two infants on a sheet on the floor for tummy time when you feel a vibration in the floor. You immediately pick up the infant and hold her close to you as you drop to the floor. Your assistant caregiver pulls the two infants close to her and pulls the sheet over them. Because you have planned and practiced your response, the three other infants in their cribs are protected—the cribs are sturdy and there are no shelves or items that can fall on them.

Since the shaking is not severe, you give the infant to your assistant and she holds all three close to her on the floor. You go to the cribs, move all three infants into a single evacuation crib, cover the crib with the approved fire-proof blanket, then drop down and hold onto the crib.

Here’s where it can change:

  1. Once the shaking stops and you get the all clear from whomever is in charge, you and your assistant check each infant carefully for any injury, calm them, and place them in their cribs.
  2. During the event, you hear a loud noise from another room. Once the shaking stops, you and your assistant place all infants in evacuation cribs, cover the cribs with the approved blankets, and wait for instructions from your director. You do not know what caused the noise, so you prepare to evacuate if necessary.

Questions to consider while reading

  • What would you do to calm and comfort the children throughout the emergency?
  • If evacuation is necessary, what should you consider, what should you consider when returning to the facility/home?
  • What should you consider when deciding if you should return to the facility or home or if you should have families pick up children from the evacuation site?