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  #1  
Old 09-29-2017, 05:52 PM
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Unhappy Running Daycare During Power Outage?

Hi, first time user here.I'm hoping you can tell me if I'm overreacting here

(TD;TR: 4+ hour power outage at large daycare in dark rainy weather with no backup power/lighting, no running water, etc. Was forced to do afternoon 'diaper duty' without being able to properly wash my hands. Director kept daycare open and wouldn't notify parents.)

I work at a relatively large daycare centre and the power went out just after 1pm today, during naptime. We were told by the power company that it wouldn't be on until 4:30, which then changed to 6:30. We (staff) thought that parents should be called as there is no running water to wash hands, toilets can't be flushed, and it was so dark in the classrooms due to rainy weather that one couldn't read without straining. We were walking into each other in the halls if we didn't have a cell phone light on, as the emergency lighting went out after less than an hour.

The director said nobody was in danger so the daycare would stay running as "normal", without parents being notified. I was on "diaper duty" and had to change a full room of soiled diapers in a barely-lit room (small battery powered lamp on the table), including 8 bowel movements, without being able to wash my hands. I was told to use baby wipes by other staff (!?), and when I complained to the assistant director was told to deal with it as there was nothing they could do. It is policy to properly wash hands with warm water and soap between each change regardless of whether gloves are used. I scrounged up some hand sanitizer in the closet and used that in between glove changes, but was still really unhappy with the situation. Afterwards a staff arrived with a pitcher of water from the fridge to wash my hands with, but the children using the toilets continued to not wash their own hands.

The power came back on at 5:30pm, so we were without water or light for over 4 hours. Is this normal for daycares to respond this way to a power outage? I'm mostly upset that I was made to change a room of dirty diapers with low lighting (made it hard to see what I was doing) and without being able to properly wash my hands until the very end of my shift at 5:30pm, when the power came back on. I feel my health and that of the kid's were put at risk so as to not possibly inconvenience parents. I had one parent give me a look when I didn't wash my hands and used sanitizer after a change, and acted repulsed when I explained I couldn't wash my hands due to no water. I was so embarrassed! Do I have a right to be this upset? My coworkers in the same room thought it was no big deal, but they also didn't have to have anything to do with the bathroom that afternoon.
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Old 09-29-2017, 06:09 PM
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My first thought is to check the regulations for your state. I know that many, if not most, states required running water and working electricity. And, the diaper changing/hand washing policies are also usually in the regulations. There is a good chance your center director was breaking those regs.

I don't run or work in a center, but if my power was out like that, you bet I would be calling for early pick ups.
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Old 09-30-2017, 05:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birdlady View Post
Hi, first time user here.I'm hoping you can tell me if I'm overreacting here

(TD;TR: 4+ hour power outage at large daycare in dark rainy weather with no backup power/lighting, no running water, etc. Was forced to do afternoon 'diaper duty' without being able to properly wash my hands. Director kept daycare open and wouldn't notify parents.)

I work at a relatively large daycare centre and the power went out just after 1pm today, during naptime. We were told by the power company that it wouldn't be on until 4:30, which then changed to 6:30. We (staff) thought that parents should be called as there is no running water to wash hands, toilets can't be flushed, and it was so dark in the classrooms due to rainy weather that one couldn't read without straining. We were walking into each other in the halls if we didn't have a cell phone light on, as the emergency lighting went out after less than an hour.

The director said nobody was in danger so the daycare would stay running as "normal", without parents being notified. I was on "diaper duty" and had to change a full room of soiled diapers in a barely-lit room (small battery powered lamp on the table), including 8 bowel movements, without being able to wash my hands. I was told to use baby wipes by other staff (!?), and when I complained to the assistant director was told to deal with it as there was nothing they could do. It is policy to properly wash hands with warm water and soap between each change regardless of whether gloves are used. I scrounged up some hand sanitizer in the closet and used that in between glove changes, but was still really unhappy with the situation. Afterwards a staff arrived with a pitcher of water from the fridge to wash my hands with, but the children using the toilets continued to not wash their own hands.

The power came back on at 5:30pm, so we were without water or light for over 4 hours. Is this normal for daycares to respond this way to a power outage? I'm mostly upset that I was made to change a room of dirty diapers with low lighting (made it hard to see what I was doing) and without being able to properly wash my hands until the very end of my shift at 5:30pm, when the power came back on. I feel my health and that of the kid's were put at risk so as to not possibly inconvenience parents. I had one parent give me a look when I didn't wash my hands and used sanitizer after a change, and acted repulsed when I explained I couldn't wash my hands due to no water. I was so embarrassed! Do I have a right to be this upset? My coworkers in the same room thought it was no big deal, but they also didn't have to have anything to do with the bathroom that afternoon.
You are in Canada correct? Your director would have been breaking REG's in every State I have done childcare in the US, not sure how things are done there, but I would check to see if regulations say how things are handled.
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Old 09-30-2017, 11:42 AM
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If I were a parent i would NOT be happy about not being notified about a power outage at my child's dc. How is a director allowed to get away with that????
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Old 09-30-2017, 12:34 PM
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I know back when I did center work in Alberta Canada that we would have informed parents. But that was over 15 years ago. I don't know what the actual regulations would have been but I don't think it would have been allowed.

Now I have a home daycare in Ontario I don't have any regulations that cover this bur have said I would close in my contract for any power outage expected to last more then 1 hour.

These days I'm sure you could find it online depending on your province.
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Old 10-02-2017, 10:57 AM
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Depending on what your licensing regulations say, you may or may not have been legal.

I am perfectly within my licensing regulations to operate without power so long as the temp does not drop below 62F.

I am required only to have running water.
It does not state hot as it is the soap that kills the germs not the water temp. (as far as handwashing goes)

So depending on the wording of your regulations, your director may not have been out of line.
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Old 10-02-2017, 11:05 AM
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I don't have to close down during a power outage, but I would have to if I didn't have running water for any reason...though I can set up my own running water as a temp....like a water dispenser over the sink etc.
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Old 10-02-2017, 01:46 PM
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If I was a DCP I would be hacked beyond belief.

Any of the centers I worked at had a policy about closures during power/ water outages. Usually it was after it was 1 hour or if they were told by the utility that it would be over 2 hours parents would be called for pickup.

My own policy states that I will close and call for immediate pick up if utility says outage will be over 2 hours.
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Old 10-02-2017, 01:59 PM
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I would not have a problem operating during power outage..... and would not see the need to inform parents if it had not impacted the children. (We use power only for music time / audio books.)

In Southern California we have pretty nice weather year round but if the temperature dropped too low w/o power then I would call for early pick up. I would not operate without water.
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Old 10-02-2017, 02:08 PM
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ITA to check your regulations. I've operated without power before - for several days in MI after a really bad summer storm. As long as I have running water and the temps are above 67 or below 90 I can stay open. The time in MI we had a gas stove and water heater so we had hot water and I could cook food on the stovetop. I wouldn't want to do it often, but it wasn't bad for a short time.
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Old 10-02-2017, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmyKidsCo View Post
ITA to check your regulations. I've operated without power before - for several days in MI after a really bad summer storm. As long as I have running water and the temps are above 67 or below 90 I can stay open. The time in MI we had a gas stove and water heater so we had hot water and I could cook food on the stovetop. I wouldn't want to do it often, but it wasn't bad for a short time.
Yeah, my house is wood heat so even when it's 10F out I'm good. without AC though.....I'd call.
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Old 10-03-2017, 06:28 AM
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I ran my daycare for a full week without power or water after the recent storms. Completely legal with preparations in advance. The families needed me more than ever during that time.

I will be doing it at least once this winter, as well. Every winter, actually. It is part of life, here.
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Old 10-03-2017, 07:07 AM
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We must have hot running water in my state for handwashing so it would have been illegal in my state to operate like that.

When i worked at a center in san diego, we had a massive power outtage one day/ night. Parents were called immediately for pick up.
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Old 10-03-2017, 07:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenboo View Post
We must have hot running water in my state for handwashing so it would have been illegal in my state to operate like that. .
We do, too. I may have stated the "with preparations" too simply. We are "encouraged" to make emergency operating plans. They are required to be posted and approved. All parents notified upon enrollment. The last ice storm here stranded parents at work, in the city,for days. They had to abandon their vehicles on the highways.

My prep for hot running water is a portable hand washing sink, that self heats bottled water, run on a small generator. I bought it with grant money after writing up a formal request.
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Old 10-03-2017, 10:40 AM
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I cannot legally operate without power OR running water.

Check your state regs.

Even if you CAN legally operate, you most likely were operating illegally due to the handwashing situation.

What is the center's policy to notify parents? Did parents pick up during this time frame?
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Old 10-04-2017, 07:45 PM
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We close and call for pickup after an hour of no power. We close immediately without running water.
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