Emergency Preparedness and Mental Health

One of the commonly overlooked aspects in ‪#‎emergency‬ ‪#‎preparedness ‬is ‪#‎mental‬ health. We encourage individuals and families to stock up supplies, develop a communications plan, maybe practice it a few times and then we store everything in the closet. What we don't practice is how we prepare our minds mentally for what may come about and then don't know how to properly react once we are in that situation.

We MUST prepare our minds now for how we will react in the future. While we do not know what we will experience in the form of a ‪#‎disaster‬, which could be natural or man-made, we need to be ready to take action both to save ourselves and those around us. One of the easiest steps to start preparing our mind to be ready is to constantly notice your surroundings, also known as ‪#‎SA‬ or ‪#‎SituationalAwareness‬. Having a knowledge of the areas around you helps to know what risks you might have to be facing.

For instance: If the building I am in is a brick building and an ‪#‎earthquake‬starts, if I run outside, I could possibly be hit by falling bricks and masonry. Or, if I'm in an office building, do I know all the exits around me and behind me, in case an active shooter comes in?

We laugh that this type of mental preparation can border on ‪#‎paranoia‬and the thinking that everything is out there to get me. But a fine line does exist between preparedness and paranoia in that it's not that everything is out to get you but that I know how to deal with whatever does come my way.

I highly recommend the book "The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disasters Strike- and Why?" By ‪#‎AmandaRipley‬. In this book Amanda goes into the mindset of those who have survived traumatic things in their lives; from ‪#‎September11th‬ survivors to ‪#‎terrorist‬ hostages to plane crash victims. She analyzes what the difference was on why they survived and why others did not. The advice she gives is practical (when you walk into a building, note the exit locations) and the examples of survivors will change your mindset and thinking about how you go about your normal day.