Unit Two Creating a Safe and Healthful Environment
Copyright Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
suited for your center’s unique needs. You will
want one that fi ghts the types of fi res your center
is most likely to have. In addition, ask the fi re
marshal how to maintain the extinguisher and
recharge it after use.
Schedule a staff in-service on fi re extinguisher
use prior to the opening of the center. Some
directors prefer to have a local fi refi ghter conduct
this in-service. After this orientation, update all
staff members yearly (and newly hired members)
on fi re extinguisher use.
Check the condition of each fi re extinguisher
monthly. Note any problems you fi nd. Replace
immediately any extinguisher with any of the
• pressure gauge indicating the higher or
lower pressure than recommended
• blocked nozzle or other parts
• missing pin or tamper seal
• dents, leaks, rust, or other signs of
Fire Drills and Evacuation Procedures
Most state licensing rules and regulations
require fi re and disaster drills. Most states also
require drills to be scheduled at least once a
month. Vary the time of day (including nap time)
and day of week. These drills will prepare staff
and children for a real fi re or other emergency.
During drills, use the daily class roster to take
roll. It is an important tool for checking on the
evacuation of all children and their safe return
indoors. In addition, most states require monthly
inspection for fi re hazards by trained staff and
monthly checks of the emergency lighting system.
Documentation must show that these inspections
Every center needs to have well-planned
evacuation procedures. These procedures must
be approved by a fi re inspector from the local
fi re department. This approval occurs on an
annual basis during the observation of a fi re drill
and building inspection for fi re hazards. The
procedures should include escape routes (and
alternate escape routes), planned meeting places
outside of the building, staff assignments, and
location of alarms and emergency lighting. The
evacuation procedures should be posted in every
room where they can be easily seen. Emergency
phone numbers should also be posted. In case
of blocked routes, alternative evacuation routes
should be planned. An example of procedures to
be used is shown in Figure 11.6.
If a fi re is discovered in the center, sound the
alarm immediately. Stay calm. If you panic, the
children will panic as well. Evacuate children from
the building at once, even if you do not see fl ames.
Smoke, not fi re, is responsible for more deaths.
Leave the classroom lights on and close the doors.
Do not lock the doors, however. Lights allow
fi refi ghters to see better in a smoke-fi lled structure.
Figure 11.6 Evacuation Procedures
1. Sound fire alarm.
2. Evacuate the building.
3. When leaving the building, leave lights on and
close doors. Do not lock doors.
4. Call the fire department after leaving the
5. Take roll as soon as the children are together in
a safe, predetermined place.
6. When the firefighters arrive, report whether all
children and staff are out of the building.
SAFETY FIRST SAFETY FIRST
All early childhood facilities are required
to have emergency lighting approved by
a local authority. This lighting is placed in
hallways, stairwells, and building exits. Some
communities require fixed, mounted security
lighting in these locations. For family child care
homes, battery-powered emergency lights that
plug into wall outlets to remain charged may
be acceptable. Always check with the local fire
marshal and state licensing rules to determine
the type and location of emergency lighting. No
early childhood facility should use candles or
fuel-operated lanterns for emergency lighting
because they are not safe.