Disaster Preparedness and Response
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Overview

Children who become separated from their loved ones during and following a disaster are at an increased risk of trauma. Coping with anxiety and stress are much more difficult in the absence of those who know the child’s individual needs. Children separated from their parents or legal guardians are more vulnerable to maltreatment, abuse, abduction, and sexual exploitation.  

In 2005, during Hurricane Katrina, our organization handled 34,045 calls, and helped resolve the 5,192 missing children cases reported to NCMEC. Because of these efforts, Congress later mandated the establishment of the National Emergency Child Locator Center (NECLC), which NCMEC operates during Presidentially declared disasters at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

Disaster Planning in a COVID-19 Environment

Because of current physical distancing recommendations, individuals and families may not be able to evacuate to the traditional places they would head to during natural or man-made disasters. Individuals and families should extend evacuation timelines and plan for emergency response and power restoration to take longer. Be sure to update your ready kits, preparedness, and evacuation plans by taking the impact of COVID-19 into account. Check with your family and friends about their safety and comfort levels in terms of where you will evacuate. Also see NCMEC’s preparedness materials and helpful links for CDC information on planning for disasters in a COVID-19 environment. 

By the Numbers

Today, the number of children (under age 18) in the U.S. is at an all-time high of 74.2 million, comprising

24% of the population.1

57% of adults

 have pursued three or more of the six basic preparedness actions.2

 

 41% of people

say they are not prepared for a natural disaster.3

1. https://www.aecf.org/resources/the-changing-child-population-of-the-united-states/

2. https://community.fema.gov/AP_2018_National_Household_Survey

3. https://today.yougov.com/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2018/07/17/americans-disaster-preparedness-2018

What NCMEC is Doing About it

National Emergency Child Locator Center

NCMEC operates the National Emergency Child Locator Center (NECLC). The NECLC may be activated through a request to FEMA from a State, Tribe, or Territory during Presidentially declared disasters.  Its primary mission is to assist with the reunification of children who have become separated from their parents or legal guardians during a disaster.

Unaccompanied Minors Registry

The Unaccompanied Minors Registry (UMR):

  • Provides a place for emergency management agencies, law enforcement, shelter staff, hospital employees and other organizations to report minors in their care during disasters.
  • Accepts reports of children up to age 18 who have been separated from their parents, legal guardians or other relatives.
  • Allows shelters, hospitals and other agencies managing a large number of unaccompanied children to upload entire lists of names at once.

When a person makes a report to the Unaccompanied Minors Registry it goes directly to NCMEC’s Call Center. A case will be opened for the child and information will be passed on to field resources on the ground.

The UMR site is https://umr.missingkids.org/umr.

Team Adam

Team Adam provides rapid, onsite assistance to law-enforcement agencies and families during critical cases involving missing children. Consultants are deployed to the scene and provide technical assistance and connect families and law enforcement to NCMEC’s vast network of resources. Team Adam partners with FEMA to provide child reunification services during federally declared disasters, providing assistance to families affected by such disasters nationwide.  

Resources

Learn how to prepare your family in case of a disaster.

 Family Emergency Playbook

tips for disasters

Download a copy of the “Family Emergency Playbook" or the Spanish language version - a portable and customizable tool to help families prepare for a disaster.

 Rapid Response Cards 

emergency prep cards

You can also download a smaller version of the tool in the form of “Rapid Response Cards. (Spanish language version)”  In doing so, you’ll be taking a practical step in preparing your family for any type of emergency situation.

Please email disasterwork@ncmec.org  to request a presentation on our Preparedness & Response Resources OR order bulk or hard-copy versions of:

o   Materials for State Emergency Preparedness Managers

o   Materials for a Booth

o   Disaster Preparedness Brochure

o   Family Playbook

o   Rapid Response Cards

Tell us what you’re doing in your community by emailing disasterwork@ncmec.org!