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Children in Disasters

Keeping Kids Safe

The Western Region Homeland Security Council (WRHSAC) is engaged in a multi-phase project to address the needs of children in disasters, natural or human-made. The project will address gaps regarding children’s needs in emergency preparedness planning, disaster¬†response and disaster recovery.

The project began with a region-wide conference held on September 24, 2015. The conference brought together over 200 people from throughout the four counties of western Massachusetts (Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire & Hampden) from a broad range of disciplines and organizations concerned about the needs of children in disasters. Keynote speakers provided issues to consider and best-practices regarding the topic. Speakers were:

An executive summary of the conference was compiled. WRHSAC is using this summary to plan next steps of the project. It is anticipated the the next phase of the project will begin in March 2016.

The Family Reunification Plan Template is a direct outcome of this project.

WRHSAC is currently exploring various trainings to assist first responders in understanding the needs of children in prolonged disasters, such as COVID-19. Part of the project includes creating video-based resources for children and caregivers in understanding how prolonged disasters may effect them.