In the past, practicing fire drills and having a basic plan to evacuate your program or family child care home seemed adequate preparation for an emergency. Especially in relation to recent world events, we are becoming increasingly aware of the need for more in-depth emergency planning. If a natural or man-made disaster occurred, your level of preparation could mean the difference between remaining as safe as possible to increasing the likelihood of being affected by the danger at hand.

We encourage each program director and family child care provider to develop written emergency plans describing procedures for handling both natural and man-made disasters such as fire, flood, earthquake, extreme weather conditions, power failure or utility disruptions, chemical or toxic spills, bomb threats, or terrorist attacks.

Your plans should include procedures for the following:

  • Training staff or helpers about disaster preparedness;
  • Assigning staff or helpers specific responsibilities during a disaster;
  • Accounting for all children, staff or helpers;
  • Having a relocation process (when appropriate);
  • Remaining at the facility or "sheltering-in-place" (when appropriate);
  • Having necessary emergency supplies, food and water;
  • Contacting appropriate emergency response agencies, and
  • Contacting the parents/guardians of the children.

Your plan should be individualized to the particular needs of the children, staff, or helpers in your facility or family child care home. Below you will find some resources that can be helpful as you develop your written emergency plans.

Since we are sure that remaining safe in any emergency is your goal, it is definitely to everyone's advantage to be as prepared as possible. Please take the time to think through how you would respond to various types of emergencies and begin to write your facility's emergency plans. Share your plans with the parents or guardians of the children in your care to let them know you are doing all you can to keep their children safe and sound.

Internet Resources

Consultation Resources

  • Office of Child Care Licensing - call your licensing specialist, Wilmington office (302) 892-5800 or Dover office (302) 739-5487
  • Child Care Health Consultants (Healthy Child Care Delaware) - call the Family & Workplace Connection, in New Castle County, (302) 479-1676 or in Kent & Sussex Counties, (800) 660-6602
  • Delaware's Division of Public Health - call the Office of Emergency Medical Services For Children, (302) 739-6637
  • New Castle County Public Safety, Office of Emergency Management , (302) 395-2700
  • City of Wilmington Office of Emergency Management, (302) 576-3914
  • Kent County Emergency Management, (302) 735-3465
  • Sussex County Emergency Operations Center, (302) 855-7801