Families with children with special health care needs may present a challenge for disaster responders. This study examined the level of personal disaster preparedness among this at-risk population in relation to the general population, and explores whether special health care needs or perception of disaster risk affects preparedness levels. A convenience sample of 145 families presenting to an urban tertiary care children's hospital was surveyed using a previously validated instrument to gather information on levels of preparedness and factors influencing preparedness. In spite of significant special health care needs and concern about disasters, families remain unprepared for a disaster event. Health care and psychosocial support workers are in a unique position to increase preparedness levels in this at-risk population. © 2010 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.