Toledo, Ohio (WTVG) -- While there have been numerous acts of violence during the past ten years, including 384 incidents involving an active shooter last year alone, there has been little effort to better equip child care providers to prepare for and respond to these situations. The challenge facing child care professionals is daunting – caring for our youngest and most vulnerable who are largely unable to assist themselves and can often not easily follow emergency protocols in a crisis.
Child Care Aware® of America is making sure child care providers know what to do if they come in contact with a gunmen.
Typical active shooter training involves barricading the doors, turning out the lights, finding a place to hide and keeping quiet. It seems simple enough, except for facilities in charge of babies and toddlers.
"Because one-year-olds cannot run quickly," Anna Axe, Director of Toddler Tech said.
Eleven million children are in childcare every day, spending 36 hours a week at daycare centers.
Disaster preparedness specialist Andrew Roszak and his team placed a group of daycare providers in several scenarios, then tested them on their training. He says in these dangerous situations you don't want to be thinking about how you're going to barricade doors and evacuate the children.
"So, really, pre-planning and thinking ahead is vital," Roszak said.
Once you have a plan, Roszak says to test it out then share it with possible substitutes in your building. He also advises against using code words.
"This truly is a situation where the more you know and the more information you have, the better you're going to do. So change 'code red' to 'there's an active shooter.'"
The safest way out of an active shooter situation is to get out, but sometimes that's not an option.