Study Finds Delaware and Virginia Fail to Meet Emergency Prepare - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Study Finds Delaware and Virginia Fail to Meet Emergency Preparedness Requirements

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FAIRFIELD, Conn. - Delaware and Virginia are among 21 states that lack emergency plan requirements for schools and childcare providers, Save the Children's 2014 Disaster Report Card finds.

At the same time, 69 percent of parents in those 21 states mistakenly assume that protections are in place, according to a national poll featured in the report.

“It's outrageous that so many states still lack basic protections for children while they're out of their parents' care,” said Kathy Spangler, Save the Children's vice president for U.S. programs. “Disaster can strike anywhere, anytime, and—with school back in session—69 million American children are now separated from their parents daily.”

As the nation's leading child-focused emergency response organization, Save the Children started its annual Disaster Report Card following the creation of the National Commission on Children in Disasters, initiated after Hurricane Katrina exposed deep weaknesses in the nation's capacity to protect children from disaster.

The Disaster Report Card tracks how well states meet the following requirements: evacuation and relocation plans, family-child reunification plans, a plan for children with special needs and a written, multi-hazard emergency plans.

In 2008, only four states met all the standards. In the new report, the number is up to 29 and a record seven states have moved to meet all four standards in the past year

Both Delaware and Virginia fail in just the third category; the states lack a plan for children with disabilities.

In addition to its annual ranking of states, Save the Children also commissioned a nationally representative online survey of 1,012 parents of children under age 18 enrolled in child care or school to determine how well prepared they are for an emergency.

“It is alarming how parents often don't know what protections are or aren't in place at their child's school or child care,” Spangler added.

The poll found that 63 percent of parents in the U.S. are not very familiar with emergency plans at their child's school or childcare, and that 67 percent don't know if emergency drills are practiced frequently or at all.

Additionally, 42 percent of parents wouldn't know where to reunite with their children if the school or childcare were evacuated.

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