Recovering from a disaster is usually a gradual process. Safety is a primary issue, as are mental and physical well-being. If assistance is available, knowing how to access it makes the process faster and less stressful. This episode offers some general advice on steps to take after disaster strikes in order to begin getting your home, your community, and your life back to normal.
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Recovering From a Disaster
Keith Thomas 00:02
Welcome to typical prepping podcast for those who would like to start their disaster preparedness plan, or those who have gotten started, but are not quite sure where or how to take the next steps. Each week I'll present a disaster preparedness topic with actionable tips and strategies that you can implement to start or grow your personal disaster preparations. Thanks for stopping by to listen today.
Keith Thomas 00:56
Hi, I'm Keith, and welcome to typical prepping. In this episode, we'll be talking about some tips and strategies for recovering from a disaster.
Keith Thomas 01:06
Recovering from a disaster is usually a gradual process. Safety is a primary issue as are mental and physical well-being. If assistance is available, knowing how to access it makes the process faster and less stressful. This episode offers some general advice on steps to take after disaster strikes in order to begin getting your home, your community, and your life back to normal. Your first concern after disaster is your family's health and safety. You need to consider possible safety issues and monitor family health and wellbeing.
Aiding the Injured
Keith Thomas 01:48
Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless you are in immediate danger of death or further injury. If you must move an unconscious person first stabilize the neck and head then call for help immediately.
· If the victim is not breathing, carefully position the victim for artificial respiration, clear the airway, and commenced mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
· Maintain body temperature with blankets. Be sure the victim does not become overheated.
· Never tried to feed liquids to an unconscious person.
· Be aware of exhaustion. Do not try to do too much at once. set priorities and pace yourself. Get enough rest.
· Drink plenty of clean water.
· Eat well.
· Wear sturdy work boots and gloves.
· Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and clean water often when working in debris.
· Be aware of new safety issues created by the disaster. Watch for washed-out roads contaminated buildings, contaminated water gas leaks, broken glass damaged electrical wiring, and slippery floors.
· Inform local authorities about health and safety issues, including chemical spills, downed wires, washed-out roads, smoldering insulation, and dead animals.
Keith Thomas 03:23
Returning home can be both physically and mentally challenging. Above all, use caution.
· Keep a battery-powered radio with you so you can listen for emergency updates and news reports.
· Use a battery-powered flashlight to inspect a damaged home. And please note, the flashlight should be turned on outside before entering the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas of present.
· Watch out for animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
· Use the phone only to report life-threatening injuries.
· Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for falling objects downed electrical wires and weakened walls, bridges roads, and sidewalks. Walk carefully around the outside and check for loose powerlines gas leaks and structural damage. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering, and do not enter if you smell gas. Floodwaters remain around the building or your home is damaged by fire and authorities have not declared it safe.
Going Inside Your Home
Keith Thomas 04:51
When you do go inside your home, there are certain things you should and should not do. Enter the home carefully and check for damage. Be aware of loose boards and slippery floors. The following items are other things to check inside your home. If you have natural gas. If you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window and leave immediately. Turn off the main gas valve from the outside if you can call the gas company from a neighbor's residence. And if you shut off the gas supply at the main valve, you will need a professional to turn it back on. Do not smoke or use oil gas lanterns, candles, or torches for lighting inside a damaged home until you're sure there's no leaking gas or other flammable materials present. Sparks broken or frayed wires. Check the electrical system unless you are wet standing in water or unsure of your safety. If possible, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If the situation is unsafe, leave the building and call for help. Do not turn on lights until you're sure they're safe to use. You may want to have an electrician inspect your wiring. Roof foundation and chimney cracks. If it looks like the building may collapse, leave immediately. If appliances are wet, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Then unplug appliances and let them dry out. Have appliances checked by a professional before using them again. Also, have the electrical system checked by an electrician before turning the power back on. If pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve. Check with local authorities before using any water the water could be contaminated. Pump out wells and have the water tested by authorities before drinking. Do not flush toilets until you know that the sewage lines are intact. Food and other supplies. Throw out all food and other supplies that you suspect may have become contaminated or come in contact with floodwater. If your basement was flooded, pump it out gradually to avoid damage. The walls may collapse and the floor may buckle if the basement is pumped out while the surrounding ground is still waterlogged. Open cabinets and be alert for objects that may fall. Clean up household chemical spills, disinfect items that may have been contaminated by raw sewage, bacteria, or chemicals. Also, clean salvageable items and call your insurance agent. Take pictures of the damages. Keep good records of repair and cleaning costs.
Being Wary of Wildlife and Other Animals
Keith Thomas 08:02
Be wary of wildlife and other animals. Disaster and life-threatening situations will exacerbate the unpredictable nature of wild animals. To protect yourself and your family, learn how to deal with wildlife. Do not approach or attempt to help an injured or stranded animal. Call your local animal control office or Wildlife Resource office. Do not corner wild animals or try to rescue them. Wild animals will likely feel threatened and may endanger themselves by dashing off into floodwaters, fire, or so forth. Do not approach wild animals that have taken refuge in your home. Wild animals such as snakes, opossums, and raccoons often seek refuge from floodwaters on upper levels of homes and have been known to remain after water recedes. If you encounter animals in this situation, open a window or provide another escape route an animal will likely leave on its own. Do not attempt to capture or handle the animal should the animal stay, call your local animal control office or Wildlife Resource office. Do not attempt to move a day and animal carcasses can present a serious health risk. Call your local Emergency Management Office or health department for help and instructions. If bitten by an animal seek immediate medical attention.
Seeking Disaster Assistance
Keith Thomas 09:36
Throughout the recovery period, It is important to monitor local radio or television reports and other media sources for information about where to get emergency housing, food first aid, clothing, and financial assistance. I'll now give you some general information about the kinds of assistance that may be available.
Keith Thomas 10:00
Direct assistance. Direct assistance to individuals and families may come from any number of organizations including the American Red Cross the Salvation Army or other volunteer organizations in your area. These organizations provide food, shelter supplies and assist in cleanup efforts. In the most severe disasters, the federal government is also called in to help individuals and families with temporary housing, counseling, local interest loans, grants, and other assistance. The federal government also has programs that help small businesses and farmers. Most federal assistance becomes available. When the President of the United States declares a major disaster for the affected area at the request of a state governor. FEMA will provide information through the media and community outreach about federal assistance and how to apply.
Coping with Disaster
Keith Thomas 11:01
The emotional toll that disaster brings can sometimes be even more devastating than the financial strains of damage, and loss of home business or personal property. Everyone who sees or experiences a disaster is affected by it in some way. It is normal to feel anxious about your own safety, and that of your family and close friends. Profound sadness grief and anger are normal reactions to an abnormal event. Acknowledging your feelings helps you recover. Focusing on your strengths and abilities helps you heal. Accepting health from Community Programs and Resources is healthy. Everyone has different needs and different ways of coping. It is common to want to strike back at people who have caused great pain. Children and older adults are of special concern in the aftermath of disasters. Even individuals who experience disaster second-hand through exposure to extensive media coverage can be affected. Contact local faith-based organizations, voluntary agencies, or professional counselors for counseling. Additionally, FEMA and state and local governments of the affected area may provide crisis counseling assistance. When adults have the following signs, they might need crisis counseling or stress management assistance. They have difficulty communicating thoughts, difficulty sleeping, difficulty maintaining balance in their lives, low threshold of frustration, increased use of drugs and alcohol, limited attention span, poor work performance, headaches, and or stomach problems. Tunnel Vision muffled hearing, colds or flu-like symptoms disorientation or confusion, difficulty concentrating reluctance to leave home depression or sadness, feelings of hopelessness, mood swings, and easy bouts of crying. Overwhelming guilt and self-doubt, fear of crowds, strangers, or being alone. The following are ways to ease disaster-related stress. Talk with someone about your feelings, anger, sorrow, and other emotions, even though it may be difficult. Seek help from professional counselors who deal with post-disaster stress. Do not hold yourself responsible for the disastrous event or be frustrated because you feel you cannot help directly in rescue work. Take steps to promote your own physical and emotional healing by eating healthy, rest, exercise, relaxation, and meditation. Maintain a normal family and daily routine, limiting demanding responsibilities on yourself and your family and spend time with family and friends and participate in memorials.
Helping Children Cope with Disaster
Keith Thomas 14:21
To help children cope with disaster. Use existing support groups of family, friends, and religious institutions. Ensure you are ready for future events by restocking your disaster supplies kit and updating your family disaster plan. Doing these positive actions can be comforting. Disasters can leave children feeling frightened, confused, and insecure. Whether a child has personally experienced trauma has merely seen the event on television or has heard it discussed by adults. It is important for parents and teachers to be informed and ready to help if reactions to stress begin to occur. Children may respond to disaster by demonstrating fears, sadness, or behavioral problems. Younger children may return to earlier behavior patterns such as Bedwetting, sleep problems, and separation anxiety. Older children may also display anger, aggression, school problems, or withdraw some children who have only indirect contact with the disaster, but witnessing on television may develop distress.
Who is at Risk?
Keith Thomas 15:43
So who's at risk? For many children, reactions to disasters are brief and present normal reactions to abnormal events. A smaller number of children can be at risk for more enduring psychological distress as a function of three major risk factors. direct exposure to the disaster such as being evacuated, observing injuries or death of others, or experiencing injury along with fearing one's life is in danger. Loss or grief. This relates to the death or serious injury of family or friends. Ongoing stress from the secondary effects of disaster, such as temporary living elsewhere, loss of friends and social networks, loss of personal property, parental unemployment, and cost incurred during recovery to return the family to pre-disaster life and living conditions.
What Creates Vulnerability in Children?
Keith Thomas 16:43
In most cases, depending on the aforementioned risk factors, distressing responses are temporary. In the absence of severe threat to life, injury, loss of loved ones or secondary problems, such as loss of home moves, etc. Symptoms usually diminish over time. For those that were directly exposed to the disaster, reminders of the disaster such as high winds, smoke, cloudy skies, sirens, or other reminders of the disaster may cause upsetting feelings to return. Having a prior history of some type of tragic event or severe stress may contribute to these feelings. Children's coping with disasters or emergencies is often tied to the way parents cope. They can detect adults' fears and sadness. adults and parents can make disasters less traumatic for children by taking steps to manage their own feelings and plans for coping. Parents are almost always the best source of support for children in disasters. One way to establish a sense of control and to build confidence in children before a disaster is to engage and involve them in preparing a family disaster plan. After disaster, children can contribute to a family recovery plan.
A Child’s Reaction to Disaster by Age
Keith Thomas 18:12
Some common reactions in children after disaster or traumatic event by age. From birth through two years when children are pre-verbal and experience trauma. They do not have the words to describe the event or their feelings. However, they can retain memories of particular sights, sounds, or smells. Infants may react to trauma by being irritable, crying more than usual, are wanting to be held and cuddled. The biggest influence on children of this age is how their parents cope. As children get older. Their play may involve acting out elements of the traumatic event that occurred several years in the past and was seemingly forgotten. For preschool, ages three through six years. Preschool children often feel helpless and powerless in the face of an overwhelming event. Because of their age and small size, they lack the ability to protect themselves or others. As a result, they feel intense fear and insecurity about being separated from caregivers. Preschoolers cannot grasp the concept of permanent loss. They can see consequences as being reversible or permanent. In the weeks following a traumatic event, preschoolers' play activities may reenact the incident or the disaster over and over again. School-aged children ages seven through 10 years. The school-aged child has the ability to understand the permanence of loss. Some children become intensely preoccupied with the details of a traumatic event. And we're going to talk about it continually. This preoccupation can interfere with the child's concentration at school and academic performance may decline. At school children may hear inaccurate information from peers. They may display a wide range of reactions, sadness, generalized fear, or specific fears of the disaster happening again, guilt over action or inaction during the disaster, anger that the event was not prevented, or fantasies of playing rescuer. Pre-adolescence to adolescence, this would be 11 to 18 years. As children grow older, they develop a more sophisticated understanding of the disaster event. Their responses are more similar to adults, teenagers may become involved in dangerous risk-taking behaviors, such as reckless driving, or alcohol or drug use. Others can become fearful of leaving home and avoid previous levels of activities. Much of adolescence is focused on moving out into the world. After a trauma, the view of the world can seem more dangerous and unsafe. A teenager may feel overwhelmed by intense emotions, and yet feel unable to discuss them with others.
Meeting the Child’s Emotional Needs
Keith Thomas 21:27
Children's reactions are influenced by the behavior, thoughts, and feelings of adults. Adults should encourage children and adolescents to share their thoughts and feelings about the incident. Clarify misunderstandings about risk and danger by listening to children's concerns, and answering questions. Maintain a sense of calm by validating children's concerns and perceptions. And with a discussion of concrete plans for safety. Listen to what the child is saying. If a young child is asking questions about the event, answer them simply without the elaboration needed for an older child or adult. Some children are comforted by knowing more or less information than others. Decide what level of information your particular child needs. If a child has difficulty expressing feelings, allow the children to draw a picture or tell us a story of what happened. Try to understand what is causing anxiety and fears. Be aware that following a disaster, children are most afraid that the event will happen again. someone close to them will be killed or injured, or they will be left alone and separated from the family.
Reassuring Children After a Disaster
Keith Thomas 22:45
Here are some suggestions to help reassure children. Personal Contact is reassuring hug and touch your children. Calmly provide factual information about the recent disaster and current plans for insuring their safety along with recovery plans. Encourage your children to talk about their feelings. spend extra time with your children, such as at bedtime. Reestablish your daily routine for work, school, play meals, and rest. Involve your children by giving them specific chores to help them feel they are helping to restore family and community life. Praise and recognize responsible behavior. Understand that your children will have a range of reactions to disasters. Encourage your children to help update your family disaster plan. If you've tried to create a reassuring environment by following the steps we just mentioned, but your child continues to exhibit stress. If the reactions worsen over time, or if they cause interference with daily behavior at school, at home, or with relationships, it may be appropriate to talk to a professional. You can get professional help from the child's primary care physician, a mental health provider specializing in children's needs, or a member of the clergy.
Monitor and Limit Your Family’s Exposure to the Media
Keith Thomas 24:20
Monitor and limit your family's exposure to the media. News coverage related to a disaster may elicit fear and confusion and arouse anxiety in children. This is particularly true for large-scale disasters or terrorist event where significant property damage and loss of life has occurred. Particularly for younger children. Repeated images of an event may cause them to believe the event is recurring over and over. If parents allow children to watch television or use the internet, where images or news about the disaster is shown parents should be with them to encourage communication and provide explanations. This might also include parents monitoring and appropriately limiting their own exposure to anxiety-provoking information.
Use Support Networks
Keith Thomas 25:15
Be sure to use support networks. Parents help their children when they take steps to understand and manage their own feelings and ways of coping. They can do this by building and using social support systems of family, friends, community organizations and agencies, faith-based institutions, or other resources that work for that family. Parents can build their own unique social support systems, so that in an emergency situation or when a disaster strikes, they can be supported and helped to manage their reactions. As a result, parents will be more available to their children and better able to support them. Parents are almost always the best source of support for children in difficult times. But to support their children, parents need to attend to their own needs and have a plan for their own support. Preparing for disaster helps everyone in the family accept the fact that disasters do happen, and provides an opportunity to identify and collect the resources needed to meet basic needs after a disaster. Preparation helps when people feel prepared, they cope better and so do children.
Keith Thomas 26:37
A few words on helping others. The compassion and generosity of the American people are never more evident than after a disaster. People want to help. Here are some general guidelines for helping others after a disaster. Volunteer, check with local organizations, or listen to local news reports for information about where volunteers are needed. Until volunteers are specifically requested, stay away from disaster areas. Bring your own food, water, and emergency supplies to a disaster area if you are needed there. This is especially important in cases where a large area has been affected, and emergency items are in short supply. Give a check or money order to recognize a disaster relief organization. These groups are organized to process checks, purchase what is needed, and get it to the people who need it most. Do not drop off food, clothing, or other items to a government agency or disaster relief organization unless a particular item has been requested. Normally, these organizations do not have the resources to sort through the donated items. Donate a quantity of a given item or class of items, rather than a mix of different items. Determine where your donation is going, how it's going to get there. And who is unloading it and how's it going to be distributed. Without sufficient planning. Much needed supplies will be left unused.
Keith Thomas 28:20
If you haven't made an emergency plan for your family, check out Episode #2, The Family Emergency Communication Plan, Episode #3, Financial Disaster Planning, and Episode #4, The Basic Emergency Supply Kit. Be sure to see the show notes for those episodes, and download the necessary documents to help make your plan. Well, folks, that's gonna do it for this week. Thanks for listening, and join me next week for another preparedness topic. And until then, stay safe and be prepared. If you enjoyed this podcast, please share it with your friends and family leave us a five-star rating and a review on your favorite podcast app. This really helps the show and gets our message out to others looking to start or improve their prepping skills. If you found value in this content, feel free to leave me a donation at buymeacoffee.com/typicalprepping your donation helps with the production cost of the show so I can continue to bring you more amazing content. Also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. If you're unable to access these links in the show notes on your favorite podcast platform, you can access them on our website at typicalprepping.com. Until next time, stay safe and be prepared!