Pediatric disaster preparedness of a hospital network in a large metropolitan region


  • Rizaldy R. Ferrer, PhD
  • Darshi Balasuriya, MPH
  • Ellen Iverson, MPH
  • Jeffrey S. Upperman, MD, FAAP, FACS



pediatric, disaster preparedness, hospital network


Objectives: We describe pediatric-related emergency experiences and responses, disaster preparation and planning, emergency plan execution and evaluation, and hospital pediatric capabilities and vulnerabilities among a disaster response network in a large urban county in the West Coast of the United States.
Methods: Using semistructured key informant interviews, the authors conducted qualitative research between March and April 2008. Eleven hospitals and a representative from the community clinic association agreed to participate (86 percent response rate) and a total of 22 key informant interviews were completed. Data were analyzed using ATLAS.ti.v.5.0, a qualitative analytical software program.
Results: Although hospitals have infrastructure to respond in the event of a large-scale disaster, wellestablished disaster preparedness plans have not fully accounted for the needs of children. The general hospitals do not anticipate a surge of pediatric victims in the event of a disaster, and they expect that children will be transported to a children’s hospital as their conditions become stable.
Conclusions: Even hospitals with well-established disaster preparedness plans have not fully accounted for the needs of children during a disaster. Improved communication between disaster network hospitals is necessary as incorrect information still persists.

Author Biographies

Rizaldy R. Ferrer, PhD

California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University, Alhambra, California.

Darshi Balasuriya, MPH

Community Health Outcomes and Intervention Research Program, The Saban Research Institute, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.

Ellen Iverson, MPH

Community Health Outcomes and Intervention Research Program, The Saban Research Institute, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.

Jeffrey S. Upperman, MD, FAAP, FACS

Department of Pediatric Surgery, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.


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How to Cite

Ferrer, PhD, R. R., D. Balasuriya, MPH, E. Iverson, MPH, and J. S. Upperman, MD, FAAP, FACS. “Pediatric Disaster Preparedness of a Hospital Network in a Large Metropolitan Region”. American Journal of Disaster Medicine, vol. 5, no. 1, Jan. 2010, pp. 27-34, doi:10.5055/ajdm.2010.0003.

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