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Training Partners and Stakeholders

Training recommendations and sample training content in this manual are provided as guidance, and can be adapted to each state siting program’s needs.

Training for Inspectors

The best way for state and local ECE program inspectors to develop the knowledge and skills to conduct comprehensive ECE program inspections is through training. Regular training provides ongoing opportunities to use the latest information and science for identifying potential environmental hazards at or nearby ECE program settings that could affect the ECE program. Training can prepare inspectors to recognize signs of hazards in an ECE location. Some of the various topics to consider for inclusion in an inspector training program include the following:

Methods to identify ECE sites with potential environmental concerns

  • Evaluation of the past use of the building or property at which the ECE program is located.
  • Use of geocoding and other databases to identify industries located close to the ECE program.
  • Crosschecking of new ECE programs to identify industries located close to the ECE setting.
  • Review of inspection reports that identify whether the ECE program building or the surrounding area might pose a threat to children and staff from exposure to hazardous materials.

Identification of potential hazardous materials at the site

  • Assessment of the building to see if it has characteristics of a former mill, factory, or industrial facility, such as a loading dock (large delivery doors), old brick construction, a cargo elevator, old signs, or machine parts.
  • Assessment of outdoor property to see if chemical drums or barrels, old vehicle parts, discarded refrigerators and stoves, demolition debris pile, and barns or farm machinery or equipment are present.
  • Assessment of nearby business to determine if they are using hazardous materials that could migrate to the ECE program and harm occupants of the facility. (This is especially important if they are located in the same building as the ECE program.)
  • Post-inspection follow-up to address potential problems identified during the inspection process, which might include
    • Gathering additional information about past uses of the building from applicable sources, when available.
    • Performing a record review of the property.
    • Conducting a follow-up site visit if potential hazards are identified after the initial inspection.
    • Recommending actions to protect children and staff from exposure to hazardous materials when identified.
  • Review of state regulations, when safe siting is mandated by law, to determine what to look for when evaluating potential hazards at a site.
  • Review of guidance for safe siting in states where the program is voluntary to determine what to look for when evaluating potential hazards at a site.
  • Partnerships with ECE programs to conduct risk communication activities when environmental hazards are identified at ECE programs. Risk communication is the exchange of information to increase understanding of health risks. For more information, please refer to the “Risk Communication” section of this manual, found on page 91.
Training for Local Zoning and Planning Officials

Local zoning, planning, or health department officials are often responsible for approving permits for ECE programs. Ideally, training for these officials will include instruction in how to

  • Determine land uses next to and near ECE programs.
  • Determine the former uses of the ECE program property.
  • Ask for assistance from the state environmental protection department to evaluate potential hazards before approving permits for businesses located next to or near ECE programs that use hazardous materials.
  • Contact the state ECE program licensing agency to see if they have information that would preclude a site from being used for an ECE program.
  • Use land use databases to identify locations of facilities that use hazardous materials at this time and facilities that used hazardous materials that might have been spilled or released to the environment (Appendix C includes a list of potential land use databases).

Training for Local, Territorial, Tribal, and State Health Departments and Other Stakeholders

Stakeholder engagement can also work to increase awareness and educate local and state officials and other stakeholders about the importance of safe siting of ECE programs. Consider including the following topics in training for local, territorial, tribal, and state health departments and other stakeholders:

  • Former uses of the site that might have left substances that could harm the health of people exposed to those substances.
  • Examples of migration pathways for harmful substances from other sites or nearby infrastructure or activities that might occur.
  • Naturally occurring harmful substances already in the environment, such as radon in indoor air and lead in drinking water and their health effects.
  • Biological and chemical contaminants in drinking water that can be harmful to people’s health.

Chapter 4 provides a more comprehensive description of naturally occurring harmful substances and actions you can take to protect children and staff from exposure. It also has a more comprehensive description of contaminants commonly found in drinking water, and actions that can be taken to improve drinking water quality.