Lesia Oesterreich, M.S.

Family Life Extension Specialist
Human Development and Family Studies
Iowa State University

Copyright/Access Information


Set your own procedures for evacuating the child care home in the event of fire and for taking shelter from tornadoes. Practice both procedures periodically with the children. Get the older children to help you.

Consider the traffic pattern in your home. Are all exits clear? Can windows be opened easily?

  • Ask your local fire department to come and inspect your home. Many fire departments have a campaign to distribute stickers to be placed in the windows of rooms where children sleep or spend a lot of time. Information, cartoons, and storybooks that deal with fire safety also may be available.
  • Teach Stop, Drop, and Roll. Have a firefighter demonstrate how to put out clothing fires so the children will know how to react in an emergency.
  • Install smoke alarms in strategic places such as the living room, playroom, and bedroom. Check them every month.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy and learn how to use it.
  • Practice an escape drill. Make sure that the children realize that in a real fire, it would be important for them to stay out of the house-no running back in for toys, pets, or clothing.
  • Arrange with a neighbor to shelter the children (in case you need to evacuate the house in cold weather) and to let you use the telephone to call for help. Never call the fire department from your own home. Your first obligation must be to get all the children out safely.


  • Be alert to changing weather conditions. You may wish to have a battery-operated transistor radio to use during adverse weather.
  • A “tornado watch” means that the necessary conditions for a tornado are present.
  • A “tornado warning” means that a tornado has been sighted. Take shelter immediately. If your home is in a city or town, the city siren will indicate that you need to take shelter.
  • Locate the best shelter in your home. The ideal shelter is a basement with a reinforced location for protection from falling objects. This may be under a stairwell, sturdy table or workbench. Some homes have food cellars that provide good protection.
  • If your home does not have a basement or access to one, select an interior closet or small room with no windows. Never stay in a mobile home – make shelter arrangements with a neighbor or friend.
  • Try to arrange your shelter area to give children some comfort as well as protection. Have blankets and a flashlight in your shelter. Remember to take your battery-operated radio to keep up with the storm news. A cordless phone is also a good idea.
  • Reassure children, calm them, and talk to them. Regular practices of storm alerts may help. Children need to learn about severe storms and how to cope with them.


National Network for Child Care – NNCC. Part of CYFERNET, the National Extension Service
Children Youth and Family Educational Research Network. Permission is granted to reproduce
these materials in whole or in part for educational purposes only (not for profit beyond the cost of
reproduction) provided that the author and Network receive acknowledgment and this notice is

Reprinted with permission from the National Network for Child Care-
NNCC. (1993) Oesterreich, L. Holt, B.G., Karas, S. “Disaster Procedures”
Iowa Family Child Care Handbook. pp.145-146. Iowa State University
Extension. Ames, Iowa.

Any additions or changes to these materials must be preapproved by the author .

Extension Distribution Center
119 Printing and Publications Bldg.
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011- 3171
Phone: :(515) 294-5247
Fax : : (515) 294-2945
e-mail : : pubdist@iastate.edu

Lesia Oesterreich
1086 Lebaron Hall
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011
PHONE:: (515) 294-0363
FAX:: (515) 294-5507
E-MAIL:: loesterr@iastate.edu

FORMAT AVAILABLE:: Print -300 pages.
DOCUMENT REVIEW:: Level 2 – State Review
ENTRY DATE:: September 1994

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