Dealing with injuries
In any disaster situation,
transportation and communication may be interrupted, and medical services
may be overwhelmed. You may need to evaluate or treat minor or major injuries
or provide first aid, because medical care may not be immediately available.
You may feel more confident when an emergency happens if you know what to do
ahead of time and have resources at hand. The following topics discuss
emergencies that can occur in a disaster situation:
Emergency procedures you may want to know include:
Injuries related to exposure and sanitation
natural disaster, industrial accident, or terrorist attack can cause a lot of
situations that lead to injury or illness. In some cases your home may need to
be evacuated or may be damaged. A disaster may interrupt water supplies, food
supplies, sewer and trash services, and heat and electricity. You may be
exposed to the elements or have less-than-adequate shelter for a period of
time. The following topics can help you avoid or cope with injuries related to
food safety, sanitation, and exposure:
Dealing With Emergencies provides more information
about how to cope with injuries that can occur during or right after a
You may feel overwhelmed after
an accident, natural disaster, or terrorist attack. Some people who witness a
traumatic event that seemed life-threatening develop a stress reaction known as
acute stress disorder, which can last up to a month
after the event.
Symptoms include feeling numb, reliving the
event through disturbing memories or dreams, and avoiding anything that may be
a reminder of the event. Symptoms are so intense that they disrupt daily
activities like going to work and interacting with other people.
If the symptoms last more than a month or don't develop until more than a
month after the event, you may have
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Even if you
were not injured or in danger, you can still get acute stress disorder or PTSD
if you felt physically threatened or witnessed violence. For more information,
see the topic
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
People who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event often need
help from health professionals who are specially trained. If symptoms are
severe enough to disrupt your daily life or do not improve after 2 weeks, talk
with a doctor.
If you lost a loved one or friend in a disaster or
accident (or even a pet, your home, or important possessions), you will need
time to cope with feelings of grief and loss. For more information, see the
Grief and Grieving.
Traumatic events can
also cause feelings of depression that may need treatment. For more
information, see the topic