Disaster preparedness and families of children with special needs: A geographic comparison

Academic Article


  • Over eleven million children in the United States have special health care needs. These unique needs can burden community and emergency responders after a disaster, complicating rescue and recovery efforts and generating reunification needs. Family disaster preparedness can help to moderate the extent that community resources are utilized by preparing families to be self-sustaining after a disaster and streamline access to medical care when needed. This study explored differences in two populations of families of children with special health care needs to determine if geographic differences exist in preparedness levels and whether a brief education intervention would prove successful in increasing baseline preparedness levels across both populations. A brief education intervention was delivered by trained community health educators to 210 families of children with special health care needs. A quasiexperimental pre-posttest design was used to compare baseline preparedness levels and 1 month follow-up levels. Although there was no difference in preparedness levels based on geographic location, both populations demonstrated a statistically significant increase in preparedness levels post-intervention. This study provides additional evidence that a brief education intervention helps to increase preparedness levels among families of children with special health care needs. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Baker LR; Cormier LA
  • Start Page

  • 106
  • End Page

  • 112
  • Volume

  • 38
  • Issue

  • 1