Public Safety

County Initiates Regional Childcare Disaster Planning

In a disaster like a wildfire or earthquake, in-home daycare providers and private childcare centers are responsible for the children of working parents. Some of those providers could be in the path of a wildfire, or in the area of an earthquake, and may need to evacuate. The County Office of Emergency Services has created a plan that clearly outlines procedures to keep children safe.

More than 5,100 specially-designed disaster plan templates were mailed out this week to licensed childcare providers, foster family agencies and group homes with guidance on how to safely evacuate children, establish relocation points, reunify children with their parents, make plans for children with special needs, and improve chances of resuming business after a disaster, said Holly Crawford, director of the County’s Office of Emergency Services.

“The County is committed to improving our regional disaster preparedness planning and helping those who are entrusted with the care and safety of our children, which is an important part of our efforts,” said Chairman Greg Cox of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “We wanted to create this template to give parents further peace of mind when they drop off their children at day care centers.”

The state requires that childcare providers create a disaster plan. The Office of Emergency Services sought to create a comprehensive but not lengthy document for childcare providers who often have small staffs.

 “Children are among our most vulnerable populations during a disaster because they require assistance to get to safety. Particularly in facilities where kids outnumber adults, planning for disasters is a must. Our planning guide makes it easy for childcare providers to focus on the most important aspects of that planning process,” Crawford said.  

The County is also hosting a free disaster preparedness training for licensed childcare providers taught by the YMCA’s Childcare Resource Service on Saturday, April 6 at the Al Bahr Shrine in Kearny Mesa.

”Unlike school districts, private childcare providers are not linked together. In a disaster, they act independently to protect the kids in their care; that’s why this childcare disaster plan is significant,” said Debbie Macdonald, executive director of the Childcare Resources Service. “We encourage all childcare providers to take advantage of this free training and create a disaster plan.”

Get the childcare plan and guide at

Yvette Urrea Moe is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact