Children with special health care needs pose a special challenge in post-disaster response. Current research suggests that the general population is not adequately prepared for a major disaster event, with members of vulnerable populations even less prepared. The purpose of this study was to determine the short-term effectiveness of a brief patient education intervention aimed at increasing levels of disaster preparedness among families of special health care needs children. One hundred twenty-one families were randomly assigned to either intervention or intervention plus incentive group. Families were surveyed prior to the intervention using a previously published instrument on family preparedness, and at 30-45 days post-intervention. A Preparedness Score was assigned to each family based on the number of items completed on the preparedness instrument. Significant differences were found between pre- and posttest scores for families that received the intervention, regardless of whether or not an incentive item was provided. Posttest scores were significantly higher than pretest scores, suggesting that the intervention was successful in increasing short-term overall levels of family preparedness in this population. © 2012 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.