Tag: disaster recovery

2014 Resolutions – Time to Restart?

2014 Resolutions – Time to Restart?

We are now starting our third month of 2014! I don’t know about you but so far 2014 has been wild and a bit rocky! January was particularly odd for some reason and it seemed like it wasn’t just us. Here in the Virginia/DC area, 

Ruly Recap and Reader Feedback: Emergency Preparedness

This month at Ruly we have been discussing emergency preparedness in connection with National Preparedness Month. While I didn’t get to discuss every topic and idea I had in mind and got a bit off-schedule at the end of the month (as we are enjoying 

Mental Recovery After An Emergency

HACKBERRY, La. – 2nd Lt. Angela K. Fry hugs her cousin Stephanie G. East, of Hackberry, La., after East and other family members were rescued from flood waters by the Louisiana Army National Guard after Hurricane Ike. Fry knew her family was there, but lost phone contact with them before discovering the Guard had brought them ashore to safety. The Eros, La., resident is a member of the 528th Engineer Battalion, 225th Engineer Brigade in Monroe, La. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Rebekah L. Malone, 225th Engineer Brigade Unit Public Affairs Representative). From the Flickr Creative Commons.

Every time you go through an emergency situation, you learn a little bit more about survival tactics, physical and mental.

After the recent back-to-back earthquake and hurricane events, I learned that after the initial danger of a disaster has passed, you need to take a moment to relax, to celebrate life, to appreciate that things could have been worse, to recognize that you are fine and to realize that people are tough and that life goes on. You can’t just go from emergency situation back to “normal” without passing through this transitional state for at least a brief moment.

After the earthquake and aftershocks, it took several days of normalcy to remember that the earth isn’t always going to shake violently at unexpected times and that this only happens once in a while (hopefully!). Some things that helped me cope after the earthquake:

1) Check-ins from family and friends. About an hour after the earthquake, I received a nice phone call from a neighbor who just wanted to check that we were OK. Later, phone calls poured in from family members as well. It’s a simple but meaningful gesture that helps you realize that you are safe and that there are many people out there who care. The act of repeating your situation over and over again sometimes can desensitize you to the situation and help you start to view it more objectively as well.

2) Stress Management. While it is true that the east coast earthquake was relatively insignificant in terms of physical damage, it definitely caused a lot of stress. Sometimes you need to take a moment to acknowledge that you are stressed out, afraid or overwhelmed and process what happened rather than pretend that it all was no big deal.

3) Humor. Humor is a complex coping tool. At the right moment, it is incredibly helpful but at the wrong moment, it trivializes the situation and can be offensive. Once you have calmed down, the use of humor is very healing. It was so helpful to read hilarious Facebook messages from friends who had been in the earthquake and who can forget the famous lawn chair photo.

Many of the same coping mechanisms applied to our hurricane recovery. However, the biggest help was that after the hurricane, we had a sunny, beautiful day. It was such a relief to see good weather and sunshine to signal that the danger had passed.

The human mind is tough but it works overtime in disaster situations. Taking a moment for rest and relaxation is important. It is also important to recognize that others you work with or depend upon may need this stress relief time for themselves. If you are an employer, for example, give your employees some time off to go home, hug their loved ones and recover before asking them to get back to work.

How do you destress after a traumatic event like an emergency situation? Please share in the comments.

Remembering 9/11

This past Sunday was the 10-year anniversary of the horrific day we now remember as 9/11.  I have been reading with interest the many “Where were you on 9/11?” Facebook posts and blog entries and thought I would share my own. I was in Washington 

Ruly Bookshelf: The Unthinkable by Amanda Ripley

Change is hard. Change under stress is harder. Change under disaster conditions is devastating. The horrible confluence of events in Japan–earthquake, tsunami, radiation leaks—are on everyone’s minds lately. For Americans, the empathy for the Japanese people as well as the horrifying realization that even a