We all remember the events of September 11, 2001. I’m sure if asked, you could tell me where you were and what you did that particular day. I was serving on staff at a church in a large metropolitan area. As you remember, many buildings across the country were evacuated for safety that day. Our church was one of those buildings. Thankfully, the staff and teachers were able to keep preschoolers in our weekday ministry safe during the time we were evacuated.
The days following, an idea was formed and developed to create emergency evacuation backpacks. If we ever needed to leave the building quickly again, we wanted to make sure teachers had everything needed to care for the children during the length of the evacuation.
Backpacks were placed on hooks next to the door (above the evacuation procedures, evacuation maps, and fire escape plans) inside each classroom. Below are items included in the bags. The specified materials differed and varied according to the ages of the children in each class.
- Parent Contact information
- Copy of Evacuation plan and procedures
- Rope for children to hold onto while evacuating (for children who can walk)
- Roll of masking tape
- Permanent marker
- Ink pen
- A plastic colored tablecloth (to identify each class and for children to sit on)
- Small first aid kit including band aids
- Small notepad
- A few non-latex gloves
- Pack of Wet Wipes
- Bottles (for babies)
- Small cups
- Bottled water
- Changing pad
- Facial tissue
- Saltine crackers
After the bags were filled, we created a schedule to periodically inspect the supplies. We made sure the proper supplies were included, working, and hadn’t expired.
Take steps to create an Emergency Evacuation Backpack for your church. What items would you include in emergency backpacks for your ministry? We pray a church never experiences an emergency evacuation under any circumstance. If a need to leave the building quickly arises, we must be prepared and ready to care for children.
Delanee Williams serves as a Ministry Specialist with Lifeway Kids. She is a graduate of Baylor University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Delanee has served in kids ministry for over twenty years and is passionate about developing, equipping and encouraging leaders.