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Disaster Recovery: Health & Safety Guidelines

In the upcoming weeks, we want to share a short series on Disaster Recovery! We’ll be talking about what happens in the aftermath—once the disaster has been brought “under control”—and connecting you with some helpful resources. We’ll be talking about…

  • Health & Safety Guidelines
  • Returning Home
  • Seeking Disaster Assistance
  • Coping with Disaster, on a Psychological Level

Today, we want to guide you through some basic health and safety rules to follow after a disaster—whether it’s a hurricane, an earthquake, a tsunami, a wildfire or anything else!

Recovery is a gradual process and can’t be rushed. Your first concern should be the safety and well-being of you and your loved ones. This means that dealing with injuries is a first priority. It’s always a good idea to check if anyone nearby has first-aid training, in case someone else is better equipped than you. Then proceed to break out the first aid kit.

A few pro tips:

  • Do not attempt to move a seriously injured person unless they are in immediate danger of dying of further injury.
  • Stabilizing the neck and back is a must before moving an unconscious person. It’s also important to know to never try feeding liquids to an unconscious person.
  • Maintaining body temperature is key for healing, so use your emergency blankets but also monitor them to make sure they don’t overheat.

It’s also important to be aware of your own exhaustion as well as that of others. Pace yourself and be sure to get enough rest. Even if you can’t fall asleep, it’s good practice to lie down, close yours eyes and try to calm your mind—even meditate if possible. Other than that, it’s important to not let the basics go out the window. Drink water and eat regularly, wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly and regularly, and wear sturdy boots and gloves if possible. If you’re working in debris, you want to be protected from infections and sharp objects!

In the same vein, it’s wise to keep an eye out for new developments of the disaster, creating new safety concerns. This might include gas leaks, broken glass, damaged electrical wiring, washed out roads, contaminated water and even slippery floors! As you notice damage, take inventory if possible and inform the local authorities. Until then, let the people around you know and try to build a sense of community with your fellow survivors.

Dealing with shock is tricky and wading through a disaster is exhausting, but focusing on people, healing, and rebuilding is going to give you something to hold onto, and work toward. If you have any tips to help people take action toward recovery even while dealing with the shock of a traumatic situation, please share your thoughts in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.

 -Content created by Sophie Wooding – Writer, gardener, cyclist and emergency preparedness enthusiast!

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