Addressing Disaster and Emergency Stress Beyond First Responders: Implications for Individuals, Families, and the Workplace

Mental Health
Online Course
2 hours
University of Alabama
South Central PERLC

After the recent series of deadly hurricanes, few people need to be convinced that the stressors of responding to and recovering from these events are overwhelming. When disaster and emergency stress are discussed, it is most frequently in the context of primary victims and first responders. However, as we have all seen so dramatically in recent months, these stressors are also significant issues for those who are not typically thought of as first responders. These include FEMA, state and local emergency managers, governmental public health, utilities, social service workers and political leaders, to name a few. Those who do not do disaster work as part of their usual jobs (and their families, co-workers and supervisors) are often the least prepared to anticipate and effectively intervene when stress reactions occur. The focus of this program is to discuss the scope and nature of this type of stress and describe immediate and longer term individual, family and workplace impact. Suggestions and strategies for pre-, during and post-event mitigation of adverse stress related outcomes will be provided.

Learning Objectives: 
  • Identify the nature of stressors for disaster workers who are not first responders
  • List the individual, family and workplace impacts of these stressors
  • Describe potential strategies for reducing and/or intervening stress reactions
PHEP Capabilities: 
Responder Safety and Health