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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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (HHS, ACF)

The ACF is responsible for Federal programs that promote the economic and social wellbeing of families, children, individuals, and communities.

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.

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.

American Red Cross

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

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS)

This tip sheet contains information for a couple reuniting after a member returns home from deployment. The authors list common relationship concerns and provide suggestions for "building a shared sense of purpose and stronger family."

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

This section of the AAP website on how to address disaster preparedness for children provides information on hurricanes, tornadoes, and other storms, and links to websites and other resources for families.

Citizen Corps (FEMA)

The mission of Citizen Corps, according to its website, is to harness the power of every individual through education, training, and volunteer service to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and disasters of all kinds.

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

This section of the CDC website provides information on COCA, which prepares clinicians to respond to emerging health threats and public health emergencies by communicating relevant and timely information on disease outbreaks, terrorism events, and disaster response.

Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project (CFAP)

This website provides information and resources related to compassion fatigue, a condition common among individuals who work directly with trauma victims, such as nurses and first responders.

Smithsonian Institution, Smithsonian Science Education Center

In this app designed for children in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, participants help cities prepare for four types of natural disasters (earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and volcanoes). They are provided with extensive information about the cities and measurements indicating hazard levels, and they are given opportunities to take preparedness actions such as building or repairing shelters or reinforcing roofs. The app is available online as well as on iOS and Android devices.

Pennsylvania State University, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC-RERC)

This checklist and tip sheet provides general steps that emergency responders should take to prepare to meet the needs of individuals with limited speech. The tip sheet reviews different methods of augmentative and alternative communication, including speech generating devices and personal communication displays.

Michigan Coalition for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People

This website provides emergency and disaster preparedness information for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. It features American Sign Language videos, and information on emergency communication systems, emergency supply kits, and personal emergency plans.

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

This web page provides information on emergency wound care after a natural disaster, including basic steps that healthcare providers can use to asses and manage wounds and rashes.

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

FEMA is the U.S. Government's principal agency charged with building and supporting the Nation's emergency management system.

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.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

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

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This resource from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network was developed for parents and caregivers to give insight on how and why children grieve, and what you can do to help.

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.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

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

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

This 2-page tip sheet explains how notification of families that their relatives are missing or deceased typically works after a natural disaster, and it emphasizes the importance of working with local authorities on notification of families in a sensitive, appropriate way. It offers dos and don'ts for disaster responders helping local and national authorities to make families aware that their relatives are missing or dead following a disaster.

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

The goal of this 50-minute podcast is to help parents, caregivers, teachers, and other school staff to identify common reactions of children and youth to disaster and trauma. It can also help adults determine when a child or youth exposed to a disaster may need mental health services. The PDF version of the podcast presentation is available at https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/podcasts-children-trauma-pres....

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

This guide provides information about tornadoes, how to prepare for tornadoes, and steps to take to maximize safety for yourself and your property in the event of a tornado. The English version is here: https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1409003506195-52740fd2983079a211....

U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (DOC, NOAA)

This web page provides information on the major hazards associated with hurricanes, including tornadoes.

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

This part of FEMA's Ready.gov website provides information and tools to help people with disabilities and access and functional needs and their families to plan and prepare for disasters. General tips and tools are included, as well as information specifically for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or blind; people with speech or mobility disabilities; and people with service animals.

American Psychological Association (APA)

This web page offers information for the general public on how to manage traumatic stress after a tornado.

American Psychological Association (APA)

This web page explains how individuals can manage stress in the aftermath of a hurricane and when they should seek professional help. The English-language version is available at http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/tornadoes.aspx

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.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (HHS, ASPR)

ASPR serves as the HHS Secretary's principal advisory staff on matters related to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies and disasters. It also coordinates interagency activities responsible for emergency preparedness, planning, and the protection of the civilian population from acts of bioterrorism and other public health emergencies.

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.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This 79-page guide provides information on PFS-S, an adaptation of the PFA evidence-based intervention for school personnel. It provides information on how to use PFA-S to support child and adolescent students, adults, and families in the aftermath of a school crisis, disaster, or terrorism event. [Authors: Brymer, M., Taylor, M., Escudero, P., Jacobs, A., Kronenberg, M., Macy, R., Mock, L., Payne, L., Pynoos, R., and Vogel, J.]

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-....

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.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (HHS, CDC, OPHPR)

The CDC's Ready Wrigley materials focus on the character of Wrigley, a dog who leads children through preparedness activities and demonstrates ways to stay safe after disasters. Ready Wrigley books feature activities and can be printed and used as coloring books. They cover tornadoes, extreme heat, earthquakes, and staying safe after a flood. Also available are emergency planning checklists and a mobile app for iOS devices.

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

Launched in 2003, Ready is a national campaign designed to educate Americans and help them prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural and human-caused disasters. This section of the Ready website features information and games for children, family preparedness tools for parents and other caregivers, and tools and a curriculum for teachers to make schools safer and educate children and teens about emergency preparedness.

American Psychological Association (APA)

This web page discusses normal reactions to a disaster or traumatic event and steps that can be taken to cope and recover.

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

This guide is intended to assist emergency and disaster response workers with their transition home following deployment. It provides information on how to adjust to life at home and recognize signs of stress, as well as resources. [HHS Publication No. NMH05-0220]

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

This guide is intended to assist supervisors in transitioning deployed employees back into their regular work situations. It includes a list of potential difficulties faced by employees returning from stressful situations and tips for helping them overcome these challenges. [HHS Publication No. NMH05-0218]

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.

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.

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

This fact sheet presents individual and organizational approaches for preventing and managing stress among emergency response and public safety workers. It describes normal reactions to a disaster, signs of the need for stress management, and strategies for handling stress.

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.

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

This tip sheet describes common reactions to disasters and other traumatic events and identifies ways to manage stress. It also lists sources of additional information and support.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

The NCTSN describes tornadoes and the effects they commonly have on children and families. This part of the NCTSN's website includes information and links to resources about how parents can help their children to cope with the effects of a tornado, as well as tips for teachers interested in helping their students with coping after a tornado.

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.

U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (DOC, NOAA)

The goal of this part of the Hurricane Preparedness website is to inform the public about tornadoes produced by hurricanes and provide knowledge that can be used to take action. This information can be used to save lives at work, at home, on the road, or on the water.

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

This website discusses how to stay safe before and during a tornado. It also discusses the signs of emotional distress that can be experienced after a tornado, signs of distress for first responders, and how to get professional help when needed.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (HHS, CDC, NIOSH)

This online fact sheet highlights the physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral symptoms that emergency responders may experience after a natural or human-caused disaster. It includes tips and resources to assist responders in taking care of their own physical and emotional health.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This story and activity booklet tells the story of Trinka and Sam, two young mice who are friends and neighbors who survive a tornado. The story covers experiences children may have during and after a tornado, as well as emotions they may have and changes in behavior they may experience. At the end is a guide for parents and caregivers to help them use the booklet as a tool for supporting their children in coping with their reactions to the experience of a tornado. It is also available in Spanish at https://www.nctsn.org/resources/trinka-y-juan-el-viento-que-giraba-y-giraba.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

This 47-page booklet tells the story of Trinka and Sam, two mice who are friends and neighbors who survive a tornado and experience and cope with reactions, with help from their parents. It is designed to help children who have survived tornadoes to reflect on their experiences, and to help parents and other caregivers to talk with their children and support them in coping. In addition to telling a story and fostering family conversations, this resource can be used as a coloring book. An overview and various versions of the booklet are available at http://www.nctsn.org/products/trinka-and-sam-and-swirling-twirling-wind. The English-language version is available at http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/trinka_and_sam_torn....

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

HHS is the U.S. Government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

The Department of Homeland Security website for first responders provides a portal that allows Federal, State, local, and tribal first responders to easily access and leverage Federal web services; information on resources, products, standards, testing, and evaluation; and best practices in a collaborative environment.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for PTSD (VA, PTSD)

This article explains why it is important to understand the different types of traumatic stress and the risk of burnout when working with trauma survivors. It describes burnout, secondary traumatic stress, compassion stress, and compassion fatigue, and suggests ways to mitigate and manage the stress that disaster responders may experience through their work.

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

The goal of this 50-minute podcast is to help parents, caregivers, teachers, and other school staff to identify common reactions of Children and Youth DBHIS to disaster and trauma. It can also help adults determine when a child or youth exposed to a disaster may need mental health services. The PDF version of the podcast presentation is available at https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/podcasts-children-trauma-pres....

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

This tip sheet for parents and other caregivers and teachers explains how to help children cope with the emotional aftermath of a disaster and includes information on common reactions according to developmental stage. It is available in Punjabi at https://store.samhsa.gov/product/Tips-for-Talking-to-Children-and-Youth-After-Traumatic-Events-A-Guide-for-Parents-and-Educators-Punjabi-Version-/KEN01-0093PUNJABI.

Last Updated: 09/06/2017