Community response

Natural disasters are often associated with a sudden increase in the number of strangers in the community, including volunteers, representatives of the press, etc. There are also epidemics of rumors, and of course there is the confrontation with death and dying among families and friends. The community response is quite variable. Often there is anger that is usually directed toward accountability and the search for someone who is responsible, and also anger about inequities in the distribution of resources. It is important for psychiatrists to work with governmental agencies in developing a disaster psychiatric response plan. Some of the observations that should be included are as follows:

1. There should be minimal exposure to dead bodies or other images that are likely to be disturbing

2. Parents should be warned to limit children's exposure to television until news coverage of the event has passed

3. There should be respect for the need for family privacy, including limitation of exposure to media

4. The media should be viewed as an opportunity to educate the public and provide information that must be credible and helpful in terms of risk, resource utilization, and recommendations for necessities such as food, water, shelter, hygiene, health care, etc.

Survival Basics

Survival Basics

This is common knowledge that disaster is everywhere. Its in the streets, its inside your campuses, and it can even be found inside your home. The question is not whether we are safe because no one is really THAT secure anymore but whether we can do something to lessen the odds of ever becoming a victim.

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