DYNACII's Life Coach
July 1, 2014
What should I do?

Dear Life Coach,

It is now six months since the flood last Christmas and I am back at home after being washed out of my house. What if it happens again? What are some long term plans that my community should consider? What should I be doing in order to be safe next time?{{more}}

Worried Survivor (WS)

Dear WS,

You were washed out of your house during the Christmas floods and although you are safe now you worry that it may occur again and that you may not be prepared.

Your Situation:

You were swept away in the flood and spared only with your life. Here are some factors that have contributed to your present situation: psychological response to a disaster, psychological health after a disaster, and community disaster preparedness plan. I will address these briefly.

Psychological Response to a Disaster

The psychological response to a disaster may be seen immediately or long after the event has occurred. This response may be divided into three stages: rescue, inventory, and recovery.

The Rescue Stage: Rescue begins immediately and for several days after the disaster, as individuals seek to bring relief to the victims via food, clothing, shelter, medical care, transportation, safety, reassurances and counselling. During this period survivors may experience the following: confusion, fear, startle response, anxiety, uneasiness and stress, survival guilt, and emotional distancing (because they feel no one understands). These responses are normal and expected, but may also cause frustration for family members.

The Inventory Stage: Weeks or months after the disaster some individuals may begin to experience a variety of symptoms including stress disorders, anxiety, depression, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive behaviours, and distractibility, which are called survivor syndromes.

The Reconstruction Stage:

Survivors of a disaster are generally able to return to a stable form of living similar to the pre-disaster period. However, some individuals may continue to experience survivor syndrome. Also, some individuals who have not had symptoms may begin to experience such symptoms at that point, especially depression, and may also become suicidal. It is therefore important that family members keep surveillance on disaster survivors.

What to Do:

Prepare Ahead for a Flood

To ensure that you are ready the next time around you may want to focus on the following:

o Ensure that your house is not located in a flood prone area, on the bank of a river or on a mountain side

o Ensure that your house has a good foundation and is solidly built

o Take out a flood insurance policy

o Secure valuables, such as certificates, in a safety box (water-esistant) and place in a high location in your house

o You and your family should learn to swim

o Prepare a first aid kit and keep it handy

o Prepare a dry pack with water, non-perishable food, flashlight, clothing, first aid supplies, money, identification, battery operated radio, special items for children and elderly

o Always keep a full tank of gas

o Do not drive in rising water

o If your car stalls in water get out immediately and seek higher ground

o Decide on an escape plan with your family

o Decide on who will assist children, elderly, and disabled persons in your family

o Decide on a safe location where you will meet your family

o Be alert during rainy weather

o Listen to flooding alerts during rainy weather

o Evacuate immediately if instructed by the authorities

o Keep an open and positive attitude

Counselling

If you are having serious flashbacks and or feeling overwhelmed by the events of the recent flood, please speak with a counsellor, pastor, family or friend.

Community Disaster Preparedness Plan

Check with your community development office; they should have information on the government’s emergency plan, disaster response plan, and disaster recovery plan for your area in the event of a flood.

WS, like a good soldier always be ready when disaster strikes. Keep safe and keep afloat.

Life Coach

DYNACII

Need help with relationship and other problems? Ask DYNACII’s Life Coach. Email your questions to [email protected] To Chat with the Life Coach, visit: http://www.dynacinternational.com. Dynamic Action Center International Inc. (DYNACII) a non-governmental organization committed to social and spiritual empowerment.