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How to Prepare Your Child Care Center For a Power Outage

April 1, 2021

The beginning of a new season is a great time to review all of the safety protocols for your center. Part of your safety protocols should be preparation for unexpected power outages. The power went out at the center I led at least a few times a year between Fall and Spring.

If we weren’t prepared it would've been a big hassle. To eliminate getting caught unprepared I recommend centers have an emergency plan for what to do in an emergency and a checklist for what you need on hand, then review your emergency preparations at least twice a year watch to make sure they’re current and the necessary supplies are stocked. 

Here are 9 items you want to have prepared in case of a power outage at your center:

1. Lanterns

Have at least one lantern per room in your center. I like battery operated lanterns because they are safe and easily light a whole classroom. We stock up on these a few times a year when they are on sale. You can never have too many. 

2. Flashlights

A few handheld flashlights are great in addition to the lanterns. You can never have too many of these either. Even small handheld ones work great for a short power outage, and hand crank ones have the added benefit of not relying on batteries. 

3. Extra Batteries

Keeping an extra stock of batteries for both your lanterns and flashlights is important. Flashlights aren’t very helpful without batteries, so make sure you have some extras when you need them! 

4. Walkie Talkies

If the power is out, you will need to find a way to communicate with your team without a landline. Most of the time cellphones still work, but I always keep a few walkie talkies in the center just in case cell service is down or using phones isn’t convenient. 

5. Emergency Kits

Having an emergency kit on hand for each student in your center is a must. The requirements could vary based on your location and preferences but a 24 hour emergency kit should include a basic list of items for each student at your child care center.  

6. Dry Food

Keeping a stock of dry non-perishable food is also a great idea. I like to keep dried food in the center that we will use and restock it on a monthly basis or as needed. This allows you to be prepared without worrying about food going to waste.

7. Blankets

Emergencies are unpredictable by nature, so it’s wise to be prepared to keep the children overnight. If there is a large snow storm and the parents are unable to get to you, you will want to make sure that you can keep them warm and comfortable. You can’t go wrong keeping an extra stock of blankets on site. 

8. Water

Water is essential especially in preparing for emergencies. Make sure that you have a stock of water bottles on site in case your regular water source is compromised. You should aim to have 1 gallon of water per person per 24 hours for drinking and sanitation.  

9. Generator

Having a generator for your center is non-negotiable to me! You may rarely use it, but you will need it for backup if an emergency happens. Having a generator can keep power running during an outage and prevent damage to appliances, pipes, and other systems at your center. Which type of generator you buy will depend on your specific needs.  

Final Notes

Since emergencies are always unexpected, it’s important to make emergency preparation a part of the seasonal planning at your child care center. It is my hope that this checklist helps you be prepared for any outage or other emergency. 

Be sure to review it at least twice a year and if you are missing any items replace them as soon as possible. An added bonus of preparing well in advance is that you can find these items on sale so you don’t have to break the bank. Spend half an hour preparing for an outage today, you’ll thank yourself when the lights go out!

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