Pediatric Disaster Planning

View or Download Papers
A Manual for the Hospital
A Field Manual
Protocols for Managing Child Victims During a Disaster Surge
Staff Support - Staff Debriefing
View Bio for
Peter Sternberg, L.C.S.W.


This site is dedicated to disseminating information to Public Health Officials, Hospital Administrators, Fire and Police Departments, School Administrators, Pediatricians and Mental Health Personnel who are concerned with, and may become involved in Pediatric Mass Casualty Preparedness.

There are three key issues that prompted the development of the material on this site:

  1. There is reason to believe, based on extrapolation from known adult reactions to toxins, that there will be greater morbidity and mortality for child victims of a Hazmat event unless children are rapidly decontaminated in the field and at the hospital.


  1. A Mass Casualty Event, whether accidental or intentional, actual or a ruse, will trigger acute stress reactions in victims, their families and the community. Critical Incident Debriefing and PTSD counseling are useful intervention after the fact. There is a need for intervention in the moment that will decrease the level, intensity and aftermath of emotional devastation for all affected.


  1. There are highly charged ethical/moral issues that flow from being a responder or receiver of pediatric (and adult) victims in a mass casualty event.  These issues tend to not be openly discussed or planned for and need our attention before the event.

The professional literature, government web sites, professional organizations and interviews with First Responders, Public Health Officials and Emergency Planners reveal that there are no standardized methods or protocols in place for:


There are three papers and two manuals available to you on this website. The papers review the literature and offer a working vision of "best practices" for pediatric disaster victims. The manuals offer practical instructions for managing pediatric disaster victims (and their families) at the hospital or in the field.

Since Pediatric Response is an area that is evolving, your reactions to the material and input will be most welcome. Feel free to e-mail or call with your comments, corrections and questions.