Disaster Preparedness

Disaster Preparedness

What is an emergency?

What is an emergency?

An emergency is an unforeseen occurrence; pressing necessity.

Most of us think of emergencies as motor vehicle accidents, fires or medical emergencies - but emergencies can also include severe storms, natural disasters or terrorist attacks.

An emergency can strike anytime, anywhere!

Being aware of this is the first step to preparedness.

Knowing you are prepared for many kinds of emergencies can help you act safely and effectively while keeping yourself and your family calm. Having an emergency plan in place will help you cope and help your family stay safe.

Emergencies can be short lived or simple - such as interruption of electricity, water and sewer services or more long term and complex - such as weather related natural disasters, fires or terrorism.

Also remember that emergency don't always happen when we are at home - they can happen when we are at work, school or traveling - be prepared for these situations too

Based on where you live - you can evaluate the risks specific to your area - such as flooding in a low lying area.

Each of us will have a different emergency plan - based on the scope of family needs. Such as infants and young children; elderly people; disabled family members.

Being Prepared in Delaware County

You might think that Delaware County is not exposed to very many natural disasters - but the truth is, as many of you are all too well aware, the residents in Delaware County can suddenly find themselves in the middle of a disaster.

Getting started with an emergency plan:


Consider each person your plan will cover:

  • What is their age?
  • Do they have special needs such as medications, diapers, formula?


Pets are not normally allowed in public shelters
Plan in advance where you can take your pet in the case of evacuation.
Don't forget pet medication, food and water


Always keep enough food and water for at least three (3) days.

  • Store emergency supplies in airtight containers such as small unused garbage cans, backpacks, duffel bags
  • Keep everything in a cool, dry place such as cabinet or closet


  • Store enough water! at least 1 gallon of water per person per day
  • Change stored water supply every 6 months so it stays fresh
  • Store additional water for any pets
  • Do not store water in glass or other breakable containers -store it in plastic
  • If you purchase bottled water - don't break the seal until it is needed and observe the "use by" date on the container


  • Rotate stored food supply so that your emergency supply stays fresh
  • Stock foods that need no refrigeration or cooking
  • Store foods that need little or not water to prepare such as:
  • Canned or ready to eat meats, fruits vegetables
  • Canned milk & juices
  • High energy foods such as peanut butter, granola bars or crackers


  • Manual can opener - (non-electric)
  • Cups, plates, utensils Flashlight and extra batteries - rotate batteries regularly
  • Radio - battery powered and extra batteries
  • Matches
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Dusk masks
  • Pliers and shut off wrench - to shut off water and gas lines
  • Scissors
  • Needles and thread
  • Whistle
  • Compass and local map
  • Paper, pens and pencils
  • Blankets and/or sleeping bags
  • Changes of clothes for everyone
  • Sturdy shoes or boots - no sandals
  • Rain gear
  • Warm coats, gloves, hats
  • First Aid Kit** (see below for list of contents for basic fist aid kit)
  • Board games, playing cards


  • Soap and hand sanitizer
  • Toilet paper and paper towels
  • Garbage bags
  • Toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • Shampoo and deodorant
  • Feminine supplies
  • Comb, brush
  • Disinfectant
  • Chlorine Bleach


  • Sterile bandages
  • Gauze
  • Adhesive Tape
  • Elastic Bandages (sprained ankles, etc)
  • Aspirin and Non-aspirin pain relievers
  • Cough syrup
  • Antihistamine and decongestant tablets
  • Antacid
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Thermometer - mercury free
  • Scissors, tweezers and safety pins Alcohol wipes
  • Iodine or hydrogen peroxide
  • Bite and sting ointment
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Disposable gloves
  • Cotton balls
  • Listing of family members medical conditions, allergies and medications


In the event of an evacuation - you may need access to cash. Remember that some emergencies will force banks to close and put ATM's out of order. Keep some money with your emergency kit.


Decide which medical, financial or other personal documents you would need on hand in an emergency - keep them or at least a copy of them in your emergency kit in a water proof container or keep them away from home, like in a safe deposit box. Be sure that trusted family members know where these items can be found


  • Licenses or other ID's
  • Social Security Cards
  • Passports
  • Health Insurance Cards
  • Immunization Records
  • Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates
  • Record of Bank Accounts
  • Credit Cards
  • Insurance Policies
  • Wills, Contracts, Deeds
  • Record of Stocks, Bonds or Retirement Accounts


As stated earlier - emergencies can occur when your family is apart, creating a communications plan can help you contact each other:
Choose two meeting locations:

  • The first location should be near your home in case you have to leave your home quickly - such as the end of the driveway or the neighbors front porch
  • The second should be for when you can't get back to your neighborhood - choose a safe place in your community to meet - such as the home of a friend or church

Choose one contact person:
  • Pick an out of town friend or relative to serve as the contact person for your entire family. Each family member can call or email this contact person right away
  • Make sure everyone knows the contact person's phone numbers and/or email address
  • Make sure everyone carries coins, cell phone or prepaid phone card
  • Being prepared doesn't mean being afraid - it's the reassurance of being ready!