Online Program

Assessing Disaster Preparedness Among Children's Summer Camps in the United States

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Alan Sielaff, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Megan Chang, MD, Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Stuart Bradin, DO, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Andrew Hashikawa, MD, MS, University of Michigan Injury Center and Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Michigan, Dexter, MI
Background/purpose: Man-made and natural disasters are increasingly common.   Summer camps are at particular risk for multiple pediatric casualties when a disaster occurs. Degree of disaster preparedness among summer camp settings is unknown. We assessed disaster preparedness and use of local resources by selected summer camps nationally for a range of man-made and natural disaster situations.

Methods: We partnered with, a national, web-based health records system, to send camp leadership (315 camps from 42 states) a 14-question online survey of disaster preparedness.  One response from each camp was selected in the following order of importance: (1.Owner 2.Director 3.Physician 4.Nurse 5.Medical Technician 6.Office Staff 7.Other).  Results were analyzed using descriptive statistics.

Results/Outcomes: Responses from 181 camps were received, with complete responses from 169 individual camps.  Majority of respondents were camp directors (52.1%).  No plans were available for the following disasters: Prolonged power outage (23%); Lockdown for crisis situation (15%); Large illness outbreak (15%); Tornado/high wind (11%); Evacuation for fire, flood, or chemical spill (9%); and other Severe weather (8%). Many camps did not post emergency plans online (53%); had no plans for special-needs children (38%); were without a method to rapidly communicate information to parents (25%); and had no method to identify children for evacuation and reunification (40%).  Majority of camps (75%) had not worked with medical organizations for disaster planning.

Conclusions: A substantial proportion of summer camps were missing critical components of disaster planning.  Future interventions must focus on increasing partnerships with local and national organizations and developing specific guidelines.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe the deficiencies in the disaster preparedness of national summer camps.

Keyword(s): Disasters, Children With Special Needs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I helped conceptualize and design the study, carried out analysis and interpretation, and helped draft the abstract as written.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.