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Real Stories - 2014

Preparing for a disaster before it strikes is essential for all families. For families that include children with special needs, the challenges can be even greater. Read these stories of how real families and caregivers responded to such challenges, and what they learned in the process.

Emergency response staff reviewing steps to use a water purification unit.

"Pediatrician for Preparedness: Dr. Landers’ Story"

On April 27, 2011, Alabama experienced a series of more than 60 tornadoes, three of which were category EF-5. “Nothing strengthens one’s resolve as a pediatrician to do more for children than to look into the faces of grieving parents” said Dr. Karen Landers.

A neighborhood destroyed by a tornado

"The Storm is Over, But Not Its Effects: Dr. Allen’s Story"

When Alabama was struck with over 250 tornadoes in April 2011, the biggest challenge pediatricians faced was in supporting families of children who presented signs of extreme stress. Following a disaster, pediatricians should learn how to apply psychological first aid to help children cope with a disaster.

A memorial for the victims of the Boston Marathon.

"Remembering Boston: Dr. Stavas’ Story"

Dr. Natalie Stavas was nearing the end. She had survived the long training runs, sheer exhaustion, and Heartbreak Hill. She was in the final stretch of the race when two explosions changed the definition of “surviving.”

Cars along wildfire evacuation route.

"Fire in the Night: Iris’ Story"

Without notice, a wildfire can force families out of their homes, making it difficult to gather critical supplies, especially if you have a child with special medical needs. In case of an evacuation, make sure that an emergency kit, which includes medical supplies and equipment, is a part of your disaster plan.

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