ANNAPOLIS, MD (July 22, 2010) – Maryland is one of just 12 states that is considered fully prepared to protect children in disasters, according to a report released this week by Save the Children. It is the second report on state preparedness for children presented by the organization and was spurred by issues raised after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005, including difficulty reuniting some children with their families.
“Maryland’s top ranking in this report is the result of hard work from many people at the state and local level,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “While we are justifiably proud to be among the few states considered to be fully prepared, we will continue to work with the education and child care communities to make sure the safety of our children is our top priority.”
Save the Children evaluated the states on having laws or regulations in places requiring: written plans for evacuating children from licensed care facilities and moving them to a safe location; written plans to notify parents of an emergency and reuniting the families; written plans to account for children with special needs; and that all schools have a disaster plan.
“Children appear to be disproportionately affected by disasters,” said Richard Muth, Executive Director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, who also serves on a preparedness subcommittee of Save the Children as a representative of the National Emergency Management Association. “Maryland’s Emergency Management team has worked with our schools, day care facilities and emergency managers to make sure we have written plans for evacuation of children and to reunite them with their families.”
Save the Children released its first report on disaster preparedness last year, and Maryland was one of only seven states to meet all four criteria in that study. For a full copy of the 2010 study, please visit the following web site: http://www.savethechildren.org/publications/reports/2010-Disaster-Report.pdf