Disaster-specific Resources

This installment of the SAMHSA Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series (DBHIS) presents information specific to particular kinds of disasters, as well as general preparedness and response information. Topics covered include but are not limited to the following:

  • Information about a range of natural disasters (such as drought, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes) and human-caused disasters (such as mass violence, terrorism, and technological disasters)
  • General disaster preparedness and response

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National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This tip sheet offers ways for parents to help their children heal after experiencing a tornado. It helps parents identify behaviors that may indicate trauma, and lists specific steps they can use to promote healing.

http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/helping_young_children_heal_tornado.pdf


American Red Cross

This fact sheet explains normal reactions to a disaster, what a survivor should do to cope, and where to seek additional help if needed.

https://www.redcross.org/content/dam/redcross/atg/PDFs/Be_Red_Cross_Ready/EmotionalHealth.pdf


American Red Cross

This checklist offers preparedness ideas and safety concerns before, during, and after a tornado.

https://www.redcross.org/content/dam/redcross/atg/PDF_s/Preparedness___Disaster_Recovery/Disaster_Preparedness/Tornado/Tornado.pdf


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

This website explains actions the general public can take to remain safe and healthy in the event of an earthquake.

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/earthquakes/prepared.html


Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (USUHS, CSTS)

The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress is dedicated to advancing trauma-informed knowledge, leadership, and methodologies. The Center's work addresses a wide scope of trauma exposure from the consequences of combat, operations other than war, terrorism, natural and human-caused disasters, and public health threats.

http://www.centerforthestudyoftraumaticstress.org


American Red Cross

This web page provides information on the different types of drought and how to conserve water.

http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/drought


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC earthquake page contains helpful information and resources on earthquake preparedness, surviving during an earthquake, and what happens after an earthquake.

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/earthquakes/index.html


National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This wallet card can be completed by parents and caregivers. The card contains space for entering vital information that is necessary during emergencies. This document is also available in other languages at http://www.nctsn.org/resources/public-awareness/national-preparedness-mo...

https://www.nctsn.org/resources/family-preparedness-wallet-card


National Child Traumatic Stress Network, National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCTSN, NCCTS)

This document helps families prepare for a disaster or other emergency. It reviews information families should know before an emergency, such as the location of evacuation routes. It also helps families create an emergency plan and a family communication plan. It is also available in Armenian at https://www.nctsn.org/resources/family-preparedness-thinking-ahead-armenian, Korean at https://www.nctsn.org/resources/family-preparedness-thinking-ahead-korean, Russian at https://www.nctsn.org/resources/family-preparedness-thinking-ahead-russian, Spanish at https://www.nctsn.org/resources/preparacion-familiar-como-tomar-previsiones, and Vietnamese at https://www.nctsn.org/resources/family-preparedness-thinking-ahead-vietn....

https://www.nctsn.org/resources/family-preparedness-thinking-ahead


U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS, FEMA)

This webpage offers information on how to prepare for a flood and what to do during and after a flood. It also offers information about the National Flood Insurance Program and has an outreach toolkit for community leaders.

http://www.ready.gov/floods


National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This tip sheet offers ways for children to help themselves and others recover from emotional reactions after a tornado.

http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/tornado_rcvry_kids_final.pdf


National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This tip sheet offers children ways to cope with their feelings right after a tornado.

http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/tornado_rspse_kids_final.pdf


National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This tip sheet offers ways for teens to help themselves and others recover from emotional reactions after a tornado.

http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/tornado_rcvry_teens_final.pdf


National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This tip sheet offers teens ways to cope with their feelings right after a tornado.

http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/tornado_rspse_teens_final.pdf


University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Terrorism and Disaster Center

This 9-page fact sheet describes the effects that media coverage of a disaster may have on children and adolescents and presents strategies for parents to manage their children's media exposure and support their children in coping with their emotions. Tips are also provided for parents to help children develop strong coping skills. [Authors: Houston, J. B., Rosenholtz, C. E., and Weisbrod, J. L.]

http://www.oumedicine.com/docs/ad-psychiatry-workfiles/parent_disaster_media_factsheet_2011.pdf?sfvrsn=2


U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS, FEMA)

A product of FEMA's America's PrepareAthon! campaign, this booklet provides an overview of hurricanes, lists steps to take to prepare for a hurricane, and suggests ways to stay safe during and after a hurricane.

https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1494007144395-b0e215ae1ba6ac1b556f084e190e5862/FEMA_2017_Hurricane_HTP_FINAL.pdf


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

This fact sheet provides tips on how to remain safe and healthy after a hurricane or a flood. It focuses on prevention of foodborne illness, as well as prevention and treatment of illness from other sources and of injuries that become more likely after a hurricane or flood.

https://www.hsdl.org/?abstract&did=467811


Colorado State University Extension

This tip sheet discusses ways to cope with the psychological effects of a drought and the difficult decisions it can cause and provides guidance in family decision-making related to drought.

http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/family-home-consumer/making-decisions-and-coping-well-with-drought-10-256


Colorado State University Extension

This tip sheet discusses the mental health effects of drought on Rural Populations DBHIS.

http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/family-home-consumer/managing-stress-during-tough-times-10-255


International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS)

This resource describes what survivors might expect after experiencing a trauma or disaster, and offers strategies to achieve the best possible recovery from disaster stress. It also identifies warning signs for when to seek professional help.

http://www.istss.org/ISTSS_Main/media/Documents/ISTSSBr-MassDisasters_1.pdf


National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This tip sheet offers parents guidance on helping their children after a tornado. It describes how tornadoes often affect families and children, common reactions children may have, and how parents can help their children. The tip sheet also provides self-care tips for parents after a tornado.

https://www.nctsn.org/resources/parent-guidelines-helping-children-after-tornado


Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (USUHS, CSTS)

This fact sheet offers information on triage, early psychological interventions, and patient education to help disaster responders help themselves, colleagues, and survivors of a radiological incident.

http://www.cstsonline.org/wp-content/resources/CSTS_issues_radiation%20event.pdf


Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (USUHS, CSTS)

This brief tip sheet provides an overview of Psychological First Aid (PFA), an approach to assisting disaster survivors in meeting their needs. It presents key principles of PFA and then lists dos and don'ts in keeping with the approach to help survivors to reconnect with important people in their lives, activate their resilience, and move toward greater adjustment and well-being after a disaster. Also available in Chinese at https://www.cstsonline.org/resources/resource-master-list/psychological-....

https://www.cstsonline.org/resources/resource-master-list/psychological-first-aid


National Child Traumatic Stress Network (DO NOT USE; USE ENTRY WITH ACRONYM)

This fact sheet lists questions that parents can ask their children after a tornado to assess for exposure to distressing situations during and after the event. It also describes behaviors to look out for in children and ways to help them cope.

http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/questions_to_ask_children_about_tornado-4-11-11.pdf


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (HHS, CDC)

This website section includes information that can help emergency services physicians and nurses manage patients and understand and treat injuries after radiation emergencies.

http://emergency.cdc.gov/radiation/clinicians.asp


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

This website provides guidance and information for health care providers, primarily physicians, on how to respond to a radiation event. It also offers information for first responders.

https://www.remm.nlm.gov/


National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

This web site provides information about various child issues and reactions that may be associated with specific disasters, including wildfires. It provides instruction on how a school crisis team should respond immediately after a disaster. [Authors: Lazarus, P. J., Jimerson, S. R., and Brock, S. E. ]

http://www.psychology.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/4-Responding-to-Natural-Disasters-Helping-Children-and-Families-Information-for-School-Crisis-teams1.pdf


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (HHS, SAMHSA)

The Disaster Distress Helpline is the nation's first hotline dedicated to providing disaster crisis counseling. The toll-free helpline operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This free, confidential, and multilingual crisis support service is available via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text "TalkWithUs" to 66746) to U.S. residents who are experiencing psychological distress as a result of a natural or human-caused disaster. The helpline's website provides information on disaster distress in addition to a brochure and wallet card.

https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline


American Psychological Association (APA)

This tip sheet provides simple and effective ways to manage flood-related fears and anxiety.

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/flood-preparation.aspx


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (HHS, SAMHSA)

Established by Congress in 1992 and part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA is charged with reducing the impact of substance abuse and mental illness in the United States.

https://www.samhsa.gov


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (HHS, SAMHSA)

SAMHSA DTAC supports the efforts of states, territories, tribes, and local entities to be prepared, so they are better able to deliver an effective behavioral health (mental health and substance abuse) response to disasters. SAMHSA DTAC provides guidance pertaining to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program by facilitating information exchange and knowledge brokering by connecting technical assistance requestors to their peers and experts in the field. Last, SAMHSA DTAC has useful print and electronic materials in the Resource Collection about disaster behavioral health preparedness and response.

https://www.samhsa.gov/dtac


National Child Traumatic Stress Network (DO NOT USE; USE ENTRY WITH ACRONYM)

This fact sheet explains the reactions children may have after a tornado and what teachers can do to help them recover from such events.

http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/teachers_talk_to_students_about_tornadoes.pdf


National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This document informs teachers of common child reactions to earthquakes and provides tips on supporting children after an earthquake. Also available in Haitian Creole at http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/Konsey_pur_pwofese.pdf and French Creole at http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/Gid_Pou_pwofese.pdf

http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/Teachers_Talk_to_Students_about_Earthquake.pdf


National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This tip sheet provides information for parents on how to help children understand media coverage of a traumatic event such as a tornado, while limiting their exposure to distressing images.

http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/tornadoes_media_final.pdf


U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS, FEMA)

Launched in 2003, Ready is a national public service advertising campaign designed to educate Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies. This section of the Ready website provides information about what to do before, during, and after a tornado.

Last Updated: 09/06/2017