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December/January 2015Vol. 15, No. 11Community Preparedness Assessment Toolkit

Save the Children and the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University developed a survey tool, the Community Preparedness Index (CPI), which is designed to guide community leaders and officials in assessing their local jurisdiction's readiness to assist children in a disaster. The CPI is built upon proven strategies and best practices grounded in research and covers the following settings where children may be located when a disaster occurs:

  • Child care/day care centers
  • Home-based family child care
  • Public schools
  • Private schools
  • Foster care
  • Emergency shelters
  • Community organizations
  • Hospitals

For each category, the toolkit addresses various elements of community preparedness, including policies and regulations, as well as unofficial preparedness actions. It takes between 30 and 40 minutes to complete each sector of the index.

The authors recommend that communities develop a workgroup of knowledgeable experts from each sector, which may include both local and State-level representatives, with expertise on emergency preparedness requirements in their field. Assessment scores can help communities identify areas where more work or attention may be needed to strengthen their preparedness. The toolkit also offers a snapshot of how well the jurisdiction is doing in developing policies and protocols to protect children.

Community Preparedness Index (CPI): Being Ready to Protect Children is available at (234 KB).

The accompanying Community Preparedness Index Guide highlights recommended characteristics of the work group, strategies for engaging in a community assessment process, and how to benefit from lessons learned. The guide's appendices include an explanation of the scoring and technical questions and answers.

You may access the Community Preparedness Index Guide on Save the Children’s website at (1,000 KB).