Choose Safe Places Toolkit
The Choose Safe Places project is part of a Cooperative Agreement (CoAg), funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), entitled "Technical Assistance for Response to Public Health or Healthcare Crisis." This funding opportunity was created in response to the 2017 hurricanes that devastated the Caribbean and hurricane-prone regions within the continental United States.
The Choose Safe Places project was one of ten federally funded projects under this Hurricane CoAg to NEHA and took place in the US Virgin Islands (USVI), Puerto Rico, Louisiana, and Texas. The Choose Safe Places project was split up into three projects funded separately: (1) National, which includes Louisiana and Texas; (2) USVI; and (3) Puerto Rico. NEHA sub-awarded with Region II Head Start for a large portion of the projects. Region II Head Start represented this project by conducting the boots on the ground work for Puerto Rico and USVI. A smaller sub-award with the American Planning Association (APA) was also provided to develop two additional planning tools. This was a true collaboration among ATSDR, Region II Head Start Association, APA, the USVI Department of Health (DOH), Puerto Rico DOH, Louisiana DOH, and Texas DOH, and took place over the course of two years (September 2018 to August 2020).
This project was built off ATSDR's Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education (CSPECE) Program. The CSPECE Program provides context and guidance for ECE programs to create and maintain a safe childcare environment, free of environmental hazards. The purpose of this project was to provide products and materials to funded jurisdictions that will allow them to apply CSPECE principles to disaster situations. The project took a cross-sector approach, combining important elements from the fields of planning, environmental health, childcare, and disaster management, to protect children's health.
Products and Resources
Choose Safe Places Disaster Manual
The Choose Safe Places (CSP) Disaster Manual is a supplement to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's (ATSDR) Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education (CSPECE) Guidance Manual. The Disaster Supplement provides information on ECE facility safety information and resources for after a disaster has occurred.
Post-Disaster Self-Assessment Form (Formulario de Autoevaluacio?n Post-Desastre)
Environmental disasters, such as hurricanes, can cause the release of hazardous materials into the environment. These hazardous materials can find their way into or around childcare facilities that make the facility no longer safe for children. The Post-Disaster Self-Assessment Form (PDSAF) is a guide for ECE owners and operators to recognize any major health hazards at the facility that may prevent them from reopening after a disaster. This form is not regulatory; however, it does provide resources for ECE facilities in case hazards are discovered. The form also provides suggestions on how ECE staff can protect children from environmental hazards during the disaster recovery process.
The PDSAF is available in both PDF and Word document form so that environmental health departments and ECE facilities may edit and insert their logo.
A learning module in both English and Spanish are linked below and act as a guiding resource for the user. The learning module videos walk the user through the PDSAF. Please watch the videos below to learn how to utilize the PDSAF.
Education Module for Planners
The Education Module for Planners was designed to provide information and resources to planners on safely siting new ECE programs. There are four modules that focus on the intersection of planning, environmental health, children's health, and disasters. The Education Module for Planners was developed as a PDF, as well as a more interactive, user-friendly ESRI Story Map version, separated into four sections. The Story Maps allowed us to better pilot the tool and collect feedback from the users.
English Education Module
The ESRI Story Map version of the four sections of the Education Module for Planners can be found below in English.
Spanish Education Module
The ESRI Story Map version of the four sections of the Education Module for Planners can be found below in Spanish.
Public Participation Guide
The Public Participation Guide was developed to provide planners, developers, and public health professionals with a tool to solicit community input when planning to build or repurpose an old building for childcare. The Design Charrette Supplement (Appendix A of the Public Participation Guide) walks the user through how to effectively communicate with, receive input from, and work directly with the community of interest.