Pediatric disaster preparedness and response and the nation's children's hospitals


  • Kristin C. Lyle, MD
  • Jerrod Milton, RPh, MBA
  • Daniel Fagbuyi, MD
  • Roxanna LeFort, MD
  • Paul Sirbaugh, DO, MBA
  • Jacqueline Gonzalez, ARNP, MSN, MBA
  • Jeffrey S. Upperman, MD, FAAP, FACS
  • Tim Carmack
  • Michael Anderson, MD



emergency management, pediatrics disaster response, children's hospitals, disaster preparedness and response, disasters, regional disaster response, hospital disaster plans


Objective: Children account for 30 percent of the US population; as a result, many victims of disaster events are children. The most critically injured pediatric victims would be best cared for in a tertiary care pediatric hospital. The Children's Hospital Association (CHA) undertook a survey of its members to determine their level of readiness to respond to a mass casualty disaster.

Design: The Disaster Response Task Force constructed survey questions in October 2011.

Setting and participants: The survey was distributed via e-mail to the person listed as an “emergency manager/disaster contact” at each association member hospital and was designed to take less than 15 minutes to complete.

Main outcome measures: The survey sought to determine how children's hospitals address disaster preparedness, how prepared they feel for disaster events, and how CHA could support their efforts in preparedness.

Results: One hundred seventy-nine surveys were distributed with a 36 percent return rate. Seventy percent of respondent hospitals have a structure in place to plan for disaster response. There was a stronger level of confidence for hospitals in responding to local casualty events than for those responding to large-scale regional, national, and international events. Few hospitals appear to interact with nonmedical facilities with a high concentration of children such as schools or daycares.

Conclusions: Little commonality exists among children's hospitals in approaches to disaster preparedness and response. Universally, respondents can identify a disaster response plan and routinely participate in drills, but the scale and scope of these plans and drills vary substantially.

Author Biographies

Kristin C. Lyle, MD

Disaster Medical Director and Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Jerrod Milton, RPh, MBA

Children’s Hospital Colorado, Aurora, Colorado.

Daniel Fagbuyi, MD

Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC

Roxanna LeFort, MD

Children’s Hospital Colorado, Aurora, Colorado

Paul Sirbaugh, DO, MBA

Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, Texas

Jacqueline Gonzalez, ARNP, MSN, MBA

Miami Children’s Hospital, Miami, Florida

Jeffrey S. Upperman, MD, FAAP, FACS

Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.


Tim Carmack

CFO, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, Palo Alto, California

Michael Anderson, MD

UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio


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How to Cite

Lyle, MD, K. C., J. Milton, RPh, MBA, D. Fagbuyi, MD, R. LeFort, MD, P. Sirbaugh, DO, MBA, J. Gonzalez, ARNP, MSN, MBA, J. S. Upperman, MD, FAAP, FACS, T. Carmack, and M. Anderson, MD. “Pediatric Disaster Preparedness and Response and the nation’s children’s Hospitals”. American Journal of Disaster Medicine, vol. 10, no. 2, June 2015, pp. 83-91, doi:10.5055/ajdm.2015.0193.




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