• Disaster Resources

Resources for Families Coping with Disasters and Traumatic Events

Natural disasters, such as hurricanes and fires and traumatic events, such as acts of terrorism, violence, and war can be frightening for adults, but they are especially traumatic for children. Being prepared for natural disasters and knowing how to handle the aftermath of disasters and stressful events is essential. Creating a family disaster plan will equip a child and instill a sense of control in somewhat of an uncontrollable situation. Coping after the disaster can prove equally traumatic. After the event children may experience feelings of being unsure of what might happen next. The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) has compiled a variety of very beneficial links below, designed to help children and families prepare and cope with disasters and traumatic events. 

NEW! Resources for Earthquakes and Tsunami Information

HHS Response to 2011 Earthquake/Tsunami Disaster

CDC Information on Tsunami-Related Diseases and Health Concerns


CDC Health Partners Outreach Facebook page -


The CDC has launched a new Facebook page for Health Partners. This page will provide real time updates, guidance, and situational awareness for public health partners about how to prepare and respond to public health emergencies and disasters. Become a fan today! “Like” the page to receive updates, participate in future conversations, and more. http://www.facebook.com/CDCHealthPartnersOutreach

Join the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Healthcare Preparedness Info list receive important updates on emergency preparedness.  To subscribe to the CDC list, visit: http://service.govdelivery.com/service/subscribe.html?code=USCDC_512  and follow the prompts.   


The following resources are available to aid health care professionals, parents, teachers, and children with preparing for disasters.

  • NAPNAP’s Injury Education and Prevention Special Interest Group (IEP SIG) partnered with Children’s Hospital Oakland and Kohl’s Injury Prevention Program and Riley Hospital for Children Safe Escape Program at IU Health to develop Preparing for Emergencies and Disasters Guide for parents and caregivers. This guide includes checklists such as a Quick Evacuation Preparedness Checklist, and recommended items for an Emergency Evacuation Kit for Children with Special Needs, a Family Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Kit, and a First Aid Kit.  Download and print it here.
  • The National Commission on Children and Disasters has delivered a report to the White House and Congressional leaders that revealed only modest progress of federal agencies in implementing recommendations designed to ensure better protections of children during major domestic disasters. The full report can be found at www.childrenanddisasters.acf.hhs.gov

  • The American Red Cross has developed a website which provides guidelines for developing a family disaster plan and age-specific recommendations for post-disaster interventions. It is important to be prepared for an emergency and to know how to give emergency care. Click here for more information. 
  • The Florida Institute for Family Involvement has developed guidelines for preparing families of children with special needs for disasters. For a downloadable PDF titled "Disaster Preparedness for Families of Children with Special Needs" click here.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) has developed a homepage for children with many resources and provides an opportunity for kids to learn about disaster preparedness. Click here for FEMA Kids homepage, which contains a variety of information on disasters as well as interactive games and activities for kids. Click on The Disaster Area to find specific information on the various types of disasters and how to be prepared.
  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has developed Ready Kids is a tool to help parents and teachers education children about emergencies and how they can help get their family prepared. Ready Kids is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Ready campaign, a national public service advertising campaign designed to educate and empower families to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, potential terrorist attacks and other emergencies. The Ready Kids website features age-appropriate, step-by-step instructions on what families can do to be better prepared and the role kids can play in this effort.

Coping with Natural Disasters and Traumatic Events

The following resources are available to aid parents, families, teachers and children in coping with disasters.

  • The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) has developed a handout, "Suggestions for Helping Children, Teens, and Their Families Cope with Disasters and Traumatic Events". Click here to download a PDF of NAPNAP's handout.
  • NRC Resources for Disaster Preparedness - The Children's Bureau National Resource Centers (NRCs) offer numerous online resources as well as opportunities for training and technical assistance (T&TA) to States and jurisdictions in the area of disaster preparedness. States can contact their Regional Office for information about T&TA. Many of the online resources can be found by clicking here.
  • Helping Children Deal with Scary News from Mr. Rogers/Family Communications, Inc. This site has multiple articles and Real Player video clips of Mr. Rogers helping children and families discuss their feelings about tragic events. To view click here.
  • National Commission on Children and Disasters (NCCD) - Resources on Children and Disasters -  

Personal Preparedness In America: Findings From the 2009 Citizen Corps National Survey. To view click here.

Activities for Children

  • FEMA Activity Book for children: Click here to link to an electronic coloring book!
  • American Red Cross Coloring Book: Click here to download a PDF of the Disaster Preparedness Coloring Book.

Disaster Planning Resources for Healthcare Providers

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

Disaster Preparedness for Child Welfare Agencies


The Annie E. Casey Foundation has created a guide, "Disaster Preparedness for Child Welfare Agencies" with step-by-step recommendations and a compilation of resources. Available with a companion CD version, the guide is designed to help develop or revise an agency’s disaster preparedness plan. Its recommendations are taken from published disaster-related research and the advice of human service and preparedness experts. It is a synthesis of experts’ recommendations, geared specifically toward child welfare agencies. Access the guide online at http://www.aecf.org/~/media/Pubs/Topics/Child%20Welfare%20Permanence/Other/DisasterPreparednessResourceGuideforChildWelf/DisasterPrep.pdf.

updated: 6/9/10


NCSL creates Children and Disasters Resource Page

The National Commission on Children and Disasters has partnered with National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) to launch a Children and Disasters resource webpage. The page is a compilation of resources on the NCSL website useful for State Legislatures in preparing their State with criteria specific to children and disasters.  Visit the link below to view the Children and Disasters resource page on NCSL.org.