Stress After a Disaster: Not Just for “Grown Ups”

Guest Blogger: Lisa A. Mazzeo, LCSW, BCD

When adults feel stressed, they can usually pinpoint the related feeling as well as the cause. They typically take appropriate action and hopefully begin to feel better shortly after implementing a strategy like listening to music, walking the beach or going for a drive. They choose anything that might bring a peaceful feeling back to their overall being.

When children feel stress, the cause, identification and intervention is not always that simple. This is due, mostly, to the fact that children have limited vocabulary to express what is going on, underdeveloped coping mechanisms to deal with it and an inability to make sense of what is happening in their environment.

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Image Courtesy of Flickr

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Dealing with Stress after a Disaster

Guest Blogger: Maggie Babyak, LCSW

They say that one of the top three stressors in life is moving. Your normal routines are disrupted, there are weeks of packing and planning to ensure that perfect move day. Then a furniture delivery is late and your carefully planned move day is disrupted. You become angry with the person on the phone who is just trying to help, you become snappy with your significant other and your stress level skyrockets. However, by the end of the day you are in your new home filled with your possessions, cozy in your beds and your family is safe and fast asleep.

Now imagine making eggs on the stove for the kids, rushing around packing their school bags, checking your work email, and getting the dog out the back door for one last run. Then you hear a beeping sound and turn around to see your kitchen on fire. Instead of scheduled moving trucks you have first responders running to your home to put out the fire. That night you and your family are sleeping in a motel or neighbor’s basement. You have nothing but the clothes on your back.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

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What Does Post-Disaster Housing Look Like?

Whenever I mention my desire to build post-disaster housing, I get a funny look as most people say, “you mean like the FEMA trailers?” Images like this one were far too common after Katrina and have been burned into our memories by the media. So first off, let’s dispel that myth.

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Image Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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Behind the Scenes of a Disaster

‘Tis the season to be indoors and cozy on the couch with a good movie, and I have just the one that will change your world… or at least change your perspective on disasters. Ever wonder what post-Katrina life was like for people in New Orleans? Want a glimpse into the life of an insurance claims adjuster?

Low and Behold

Image Credit: http://www.lowandbeholdmovie.com/

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Christmas Vacation: Don’t Let it Happen to You!

We have likely all seen the movie Christmas Vacation, can likely quote the memorable parts, and cringe when Cousin Eddie empties the trailer septic tank into the storm sewer. But watching Uncle Lewis ignite the Christmas tree is absolutely the highlight. But that could never happen, right? Or could it?

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Scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

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Texas Floods: On the Ground, Part 2

When a disaster is large enough to receive attention from national media, it usually means people come out of the woodwork to help. This was the case for the Texas floods as well. State and local governments, emergency management departments, FEMA, Red Cross, and a plethora of other organizations came out in droves to offer resources and financial assistance that made a tremendous impact to many Texans who were affected. But is that enough?

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A home on the Blanco River in Wimberely, TX. Photo credit: Rodolfo Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesmen/AP

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Texas Floods: On the Ground, Part 1

Spring floods in Texas took the state from a 4-year drought to major flooding in a matter of days. Dozens of lives were lost, almost 1,000 homes were destroyed or majorly damaged, and over $43 million worth of infrastructure damage altered the daily lives of Texans, according to official reports. The flooding made national headlines for about a week until something more newsworthy took over.

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Blanco River Bridge in Wimberley, TX. Source: San Antonio News-Express

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Disasters: Join the Conversation

It’s amazing how much there is to know about disasters – how to prepare for them, what to do first after they occur, where to find help, and how to deal with the entire process.  Suffering a disaster can be emotionally overwhelming, financially challenging, and one of the most isolating experiences we ever face.  Find your community and don’t go it alone.

Photo by Joe Duty, WCMessenger.com (https://www.wcmessenger.com/2013/update/fire-destroys-home-near-decatur/)

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Disaster Strikes…What to do First.

You wake up in the middle of the night to a smoke alarm going off, a loud knock at the door, or the smell of smoke… within seconds you have to get out of your home as quickly as possible. You grab your loved ones and pets and run outside. If you’re lucky, you grabbed your cell phone or wallet on the way out. Before you know what happened, you are standing outside as the Fire Department battles the flames. Everything you own is burnt, melted, or water logged. Now what?

Image courtesy of CC

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Renter’s Insurance: It’s Cheap. You Need It!

As a Red Cross responder, I have met many people who are recovering from house fires. Most of these people are renters and most don’t have insurance. Dealing with a fire or other disaster is an overwhelming, frustrating and stressful experience, but having insurance can bring much-needed relief. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 95% of homeowners have insurance, however only 40% of renters have insurance.  Why do YOU need it?

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