New Emergency Alert System for Lincoln’s Littlest Residents

Early childcare in Lincoln took a giant step towards emergency preparedness in 2022.

Emergency notification systems have been a valuable tool for schools engaging in crisis communications, but early childcare centers have not been part of emergency notification system considerations until now.

“This is trailblazing for early childcare,” said Suzanne Schneider, Associate Director for Lincoln Littles, an organization transforming the landscape of early childhood in our community. “We haven’t found any other systems like this in the nation.”

Lincoln Littles recently partnered with the Lincoln Police Department’s communications team to establish an emergency notification system for 120 licensed childcare centers.

When there is an emergency in the community, the system relays a police notification through a mass text service called RapidCast. The message goes to childcare centers in the area, who can then respond as the situation requires. Parents of children in those centers are also notified.

Since adopting the RapidCast system, childcare centers have been practicing with monthly alerts and reminders of their standard response protocols. In March, those drills paid off. Police sent out the city’s first actual emergency notification when they were getting ready to serve a search warrant in a potentially dangerous situation.

Once the alert came in, childcare providers took action to make sure children were safely directed out of harm’s way. Law enforcement utilized the alert system for the second time in June when a warrant was being served in another potentially dangerous situation.

Lincoln Littles plans to expand the service to include the Lincoln Community Learning Centers and hopes to one day be able to include children who attend daycare at in-home provider locations. Phase two of this work also involves developing a plan for relocation reunification, should children need to be moved to safety, and a team of responders who can respond to their needs until they can be reunited with their families.

Lincoln currently has more than 19,000 kids ages five and under. “Those children are somewhere during the day while their parents are working,” Suzanne said. “We want to make sure they are safe, just like when they are in school.”

For more information on Lincoln Littles, visit  To find out how you can assist with the emergency notification task force, email Suzanne Schneider at