Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Coping with the stress of a disaster

If this was your house... (After Hurricane Sandy, FEMA photo)

Disasters can be a stressful experience for everyone involved bringing an emotional toll that is sometimes more devastating than the physical damage they leave behind. People with access or functional needs, children, senior citizens and those for whom English is not their first language are especially at risk for disaster-related stress.  Signs of disaster-related stress include:

·         Difficulty sleeping;
·         Limited attention span; and
·         Fear of crowds, strangers or being alone.
Anyone experiencing disaster-related stress should seek counseling. Everyone who sees or experiences a disaster is affected in some way. While individual responses will vary, acknowledging your feelings will help with recovery. Some other ways to ease stress are:
·         Spending time with family and friends;
·         Participating in memorials; and
·         Exercising.

As you recover, it is a good idea to update your family communications plan and disaster supply kit. Taking these steps will keep you prepared in case disaster strikes again.