Children's Disaster Preparedness
Because a disaster can affect hundreds, if not thousands, of Floridians and have a great and lasting impact on children physically and mentally, Florida’s Children's Disaster Preparedness Program, along with its health care and community partners are working to ensure the safety and security of all children before, during, and after public health emergencies and disasters.
The Children’s Disaster Preparedness Program facilitates and supports the integration of children’s disaster needs in state and local emergency and disaster planning and partners with children and emergency management organizations to identify gaps and leverage resources for children’s emergency preparedness and response. The goal is to ensure all communities in Florida have the expertise, skills and resources necessary to manage the emergency preparedness and response needs of children.
By promoting and partnering on children’s disaster resilience with public health systems, health care professionals, communities, community planners, schools, families and individuals, the Florida Children’s Disaster Preparedness Program strengthens the state’s overall preparedness infrastructure to minimize the impact to children in the event of any disaster and emergency.
The Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Preparedness and Response has just released a brochure to help schools build and improve their school safety and preparedness plans. The brochure is aimed toward school administrators and school safety/preparedness officers, and directs readers to state and federally approved safety curriculums for various grades. School Preparedness Brochure.
TEACHERS AND EDUCATORS: The state of Florida has created kid-friendly teaching tools that are available at www.kidsgetaplan.com and FEMA has produced grade-appropriate emergency preparedness curriculum called Ready Kids to be taught in schools and is available at www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/34411. These trainings were prepared for educators to share directly with students to bolster student safety and emergency and disaster preparedness efforts.
Check out this new resource that has been added to the Community Planners, School and Childcare Partners web page. Disaster Day Care Guide – This web page contains resources and a guide for helping child care providers establish an Emergency Response Plan. Resources were developed as a collaboration of the Florida Departments of Health in Hernando and Pasco counties in coordination with the Early Learning Coalition, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office and Hernando and Pasco County emergency management.
Children's Disaster Preparedness Tools and Resources
Individuals and Families — Resources of interest to parents, caregivers and other family members or friends. For example, how to create a family disaster plan and a checklist with questions to ask childcare providers.
Community Planners, School and Childcare Partners — Resources for community pediatric planning, including child care and school planning. For example, samples and examples of child care facility emergency planning templates and local disaster drills.
Health Care System — Resources for hospital and pre-hospital pediatric preparedness for pediatricians, urgent care centers, county health departments, community health centers, etc. For example, the Pediatric Disaster Preparedness Checklist for Hospitals and out-of-hospital emergency care resources.
Behavioral Health — Resources for supporting the mental and emotional health needs of children and families. For example, disaster behavioral health resources from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Disaster Distress Helpline - Recent incidents continue to bring out strong emotions across the nation. The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, can provide immediate counseling to anyone who needs help in dealing with the many issues and problems that might arise from these tragedies. The toll-free hotline is run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as well as confidential, multilingual and available for those who are experiencing psychological distress as a result of natural or man-made disasters, incidents of mass violence, or any other tragedy affecting America's communities. Teletype Message (TTY) for Deaf/Hearing Impaired: 1-800-846-8517.
Additional Resources, Partner Organizations and Web Pages — Links to organizations and web pages with resources and tools for pediatric preparedness. For example, American Academy of Pediatrics and the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) National Resource Center.
If you have feedback or input on how to improve this Children's Disaster Preparedness toolkit or would like to share/submit additional resources for inclusion, please submit a survey.
Links to resources outside the Florida Department of Health are provided for information only. Their inclusion does not constitute endorsements by the Department. The Department is not responsible for content on any linked website. All attempts have been made to link to reliable sources, but sites and URLs are subject to change or have technical malfunctions without warning.
Florida’s Children's Preparedness Coalition
The Florida Children’s Preparedness Coalition is a multi-agency and multi-organization coalition created to ensure the emergency preparedness and response needs of children are planned for and integrated across the state of Florida. This partnership enables a lasting and long-reaching impact in successfully addressing children’s needs when a disaster or emergency strikes. This group is also tasked with leveraging the many state, local, tribal and federal resources identified to serve children.
For more information on the Children’s Preparedness Coalition, its past meeting minutes, workgroup information and other related information, please visit the coalition’s Webpage.