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PRESS RELEASE: CDA Launches Advance Warning System for Childcare Facilities

This month, the Consolidated Dispatch Agency, in coordination with Leon County Government and local law enforcement, launched the Preschool Advance Warning System, or PAWS. This state-of-the-art system will ensure more than 150 licensed childcare facilities throughout Leon County, and Tallahassee are informed of any active threat in their immediate vicinity through timely messages right from the 911 dispatch center. 

Designed by the CDA and operated in coordination with law enforcement in the field, the 24-hour PAWS alert system will ensure licensed childcare and preschool facilities in the immediate vicinity (0.5 miles) of an emergency are informed by phone and text (if applicable) in real-time. The alert system was developed in coordination with From Cradle to College Foundation, Inc., the organization responsible for launching the Preschool Emergency Learning System (PEARLS). PEARLS implemented one of the first daycare alert systems in Florida, and the CDA’s 24-hour alert system exceeds even the PEARLS high standards with its around-the-clock operation.



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The PEARLS Team travels throughout the state sharing valuable training, providing awareness and exposure to a new way of thinking including options for acting in threatening circumstances.

Evaluation of their environment, discussion, and planning are immediate outcomes of this training, as well as communicating with their children and parents to establish preparation and protection as a priority. Training has been proven to give individuals the ability to make decisions and act quickly in situations where danger exists, such as CPR. Comments PEARLS has received from its trainees to date firmly supports this concept, as well as the necessity of thinking in a new way to handle potential events in our world today.

Several tools are used in the training process: a PowerPoint with training videos embedded; a circle time book “Miss Collins” to assist in introducing the concept to the children; an activity book for continuing training of the children; and a flip chart that provides valuable information for the centers.

An underlying theme throughout the training is collaboration and communication with law enforcement to mitigate risk and save lives. Events such as active shooting are often over before law enforcement has arrived at the scene, so it is critical that citizens understand options such as Evacuation, Lockdown with Barricade, and Counter to protect themselves and those in their care.

PEARLS will serve the youngest children in our state by providing valuable training and critical notification to their caretakers – early educators.

From Cradle to College Foundation Managing Director, Paul Sharff, commented: “We are delighted to begin the implementation of the PEARLS program across the state of Florida. I would like to thank the Early Learning Coalitions around Florida for their support in facilitating the training of childcare providers to help to protect some 873,000 children and childcare workers in early education.”


“I believe this program is a tremendously important addition to the Early Childhood community,” says Sgt. Leo Donnelly with the Bradenton Police Department. “The Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County identified a large gap in the safety of our community. These early learning centers have been left on their own in the notification and training of active emergency situations. This need has already been taken care of in the elementary, middle and high schools by the School Board. The PEARLS program not only brings attention to that problem, but also resolves it.”


Lt. Joel B. Perez with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office echoes that sentiment. “The PEARLS concept is something that we are already doing with our local schools,” he said. “It only makes sense to extend this to our preschools and daycare centers. The safety of our children is high priority and being able to get preschools and daycare centers on a safety standard plan is incredible,” says Lt. Perez. “I am sure that all parents who have children in one of these early learning centers would appreciate them taking these extra steps to ensure the safety of their children.”



“Unfortunately, it is no longer “if” we have an event, but “when” we have an event. We can, and will, be able to keep our children safe thanks to the exceptional PEARLS training my staff received. I strongly encourage any center to participate in the PEARLS training. It will prepare your children and your staff to act in the safest way possible to have the best outcome possible, should an incident take place.”

Annette Larkin - Owner, Happy Cubs Preschool, Bradenton, Florida


“This class was very informative definitely got us up to par on the changes of the world on how to react to new situations that have been happening. The staff felt very empowered and more confident in the safety of the facility and the children do to this class thank you so much for your time and your energy spent into this program.”

Kristen Terrell - Owner, A Child’s Galaxy, Bradenton, Florida 


“The staff of Wee World Child Development Center along with the staff of King’s Kids participated in the PEARLS training last year. During this training the PEARLS team covered many areas from weather alerts to active shooter on campus and everything in between. The training is very intense in the sense that you don’t want to think terrible things could happen at your school. As hard as it was to sit through and role play different threats, it was very important for us to understand the importance of “Be Proactive”, “Be Prepared” and “Be Educated.” The Preschool Emergency Alert Response Learning System is a tool that every childcare provider should be trained in.”  

Julee Williams - Director, Wee World Preschool, Palmetto, Florida


For more information on the PEARLS program contact Marie O’Connell.

Phone: 941-900-4233