Tornado-Specific Information | General Disaster Response
Special Populations: Children | Older Adults | Persons with Disabilities
Guidance for First Responders: Resources on Self-Care and Stress Management | Post-Deployment Tips | Acute Interventions
American Psychological Association (APA). (n.d.). Managing traumatic stress: After the tornadoes. Retrieved from the APA website at http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/tornadoes.aspx
This tip sheet helps survivors understand emotional reactions and provides tips for building resilience and easing recovery after a tornado.
(Also available in Spanish at http://www.apa.org/centrodeapoyo/tornados.aspx )
American Red Cross. (2009). Be Red Cross ready: Tornado safety checklist. Retrieved from http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4340177_Tornado.pdf [PDF - 256 Kb]
This checklist offers preparedness ideas and safety concerns before, during, and after a tornado.
(Also available in Spanish at http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4340170_Tornado_SPN.pdf [PDF - 247 Kb])
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (n.d.). Tornadoes. Retrieved from http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/tornadoes
This webpage provides safety tips related to preparation for and actions to take after a tornado.
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APA. (2011, August). Managing traumatic stress: Tips for recovering from disasters and other traumatic events. Retrieved from the APA website at http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/recovering-disasters.aspx
This tip sheet discusses normal reactions to a disaster or traumatic event and the steps that can be taken to alleviate stress.
American Red Cross. (2009). Be Red Cross ready: Taking care of your emotional health after a disaster. Retrieved from http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4240142_EmotionalHealth.pdf [PDF - 307 Kb]
This fact sheet from the American Red Cross explains normal reactions to a disaster, what a survivor should do to cope, and where to seek additional help if needed.
CDC. (2010). Health recommendations for relief workers responding to disasters. Retrieved from the CDC website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/content/relief-workers.aspx
This web page provides health advice specific to the needs of disaster relief workers and suggests that those who provide disaster assistance should pay attention to their own mental health needs before, during, and after their work in the field.
International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. (n.d.). Mass Disasters, Trauma, and Loss. Retrieved from http://www.istss.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=PublicEducationPamphlets&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=1464
This fact sheet includes information on common stress reactions to mass disaster, trauma, and loss. It explains how to minimize these reactions and when to seek professional help.
National Center for PTSD. (2007). Reactions to a Major Disaster: A Fact Sheet for Survivors and their Families. Retrieved from http://www.wipps.org/BTS/ptsd_subpages/handouts/Reactions_Survivors.pdf [PDF - 64.50 Kb]
This handout from the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress provides information about normal stress reactions, other mental health problems that commonly occur following a disaster, and the recovery process.
National Center for PTSD. (2007). Working with trauma survivors: What workers need to know. Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/dtac/FederalResource/Response/21-Working_with_Trauma_Survivors.pdf [PDF - 43.2 Kb]
This tip sheet discusses the importance of understanding traumatic stress when working with trauma survivors.
National Center for PTSD. (2010, February). Mental health reactions after disaster. Retrieved from http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/pages/handouts-pdf/Reactions.pdf [PDF - 87.8 Kb]
This handout provides information about normal stress reactions and other, more severe reactions some survivors may experience after a disaster.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services. (2007, April). Tips for survivors of a traumatic event: Managing your stress (HHS Publication No. NMH05-0209). Retrieved from http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content//NMH05-0209R/NMH05-0209R.pdf [PDF - 926 Kb]
This tip sheet outlines the common signs of stress after a disaster and provides stress reduction strategies.
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HHS, SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center. (n.d.). Helping Children and Youth Cope in the Aftermath of Disasters: Tips for Parents and Other Caregivers, Teachers, Administrators, and School Staff Podcast. Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/dtac/podcasts/children-trauma/register.asp
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, and discover helpful approaches to support immediate and long-term recovery.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). Factsheets for parents, teachers, children, and teens.
This selection of factsheets identifies common reactions among children and teens, and provides guidelines for helping them recover from the traumatic effects of a tornado.
After the Tornado: Helping Young Children Heal
http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/helping_young_children_heal_tornado.pdf [PDF - 50.11 Kb]
(Also available in Spanish at http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/despues_de_pasar_por_la_experiencia_de_un_tornado.pdf [PDF - 101.12 Kb])
Parent Guidelines for Helping Children after a Tornado
http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/parents_talk_to_children_about_tornadoes.pdf [PDF - 61.64 Kb]
Questions To Ask Your Children About the Tornado
http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/questions_to_ask_children_about_tornado-4-11-11.pdf [PDF - 40.32 Kb]
Teacher Guidelines for Helping Students after a Tornado
http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/teachers_talk_to_students_about_tornadoes.pdf [PDF - 61.57 Kb]
Tornado Response for Kids: Right after a Tornado
http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/tornado_rspse_kids_final.pdf [PDF - 111.38 Kb]
Tornado Recovery for Kids: Making Things Better
http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/tornado_rcvry_kids_final.pdf [PDF – 113.8 Kb]
Tornado Response for Teens: Right after a Tornado
http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/tornado_rspse_teens_final.pdf [PDF - 117.13 Kb]
Tornado Recovery for Teens: Making Things Better
http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/tornado_rcvry_teens_final.pdf [PDF - 401.6 Kb]
Tips for Parents on Media Coverage of the Tornadoes
http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/tornadoes_media_final.pdf [PDF - 58.49 Kb]
NCTSN. (2004). For parents: Childhood traumatic grief educational materials. Retrieved from http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/parents_package1-15-04.pdf [PDF – 117 Kb]
This resource is comprised of three guides. The first guide provides information for parents on childhood traumatic grief including common signs and how it differs from other kinds of grief. The second guide is a more in-depth description of childhood traumatic grief and the third guide summarizes this type of grief and provides suggestions for treatment.
(Also available in Spanish at
http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/GriefSpanishComplete.pdf [PDF – 273 Kb])
NCTSN. (n.d.). Recovery after a Tornado. Retrieved from http://www.nctsn.org/trauma-types/natural-disasters/tornadoes
The National Center for Traumatic Stress Network has a tornado recovery page with information about the impact that tornadoes can have on children. A series of fact sheets and tips for parents on how to help children and teens cope with emotional reactions following a tornado are included under the "Recovery" tab.
NCTSN. (2004). Secondary Traumatic Stress: A Fact Sheet for Child-Serving Professionals. Retrieved from http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/secondary_traumatic_tress.pdf [PDF - 724.3 Kb]
This fact sheet from NCTSN provides an overview of secondary traumatic stress and its potential impact on professionals who work with children. Also described are options for assessment, prevention, and interventions as well as factors that can enhance resilience.
NCTSN. (n.d.). Tornadoes. Retrieved from NCTSN website at http://www.nctsn.org/trauma-types/natural-disasters/tornadoes
This web page describes the physical characteristics of tornadoes and lists information about the impact that tornadoes can have on children and families. Readiness, response, and recovery tabs take the user to links to fact sheets and other materials.
HHS, SAMHSA. (2007). Tips for talking to children and youth after traumatic events: A guide for parents and educators (SAMHSA Publication No. KEN-01-0091/KEN-01-0093). Retrieved from https://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/KEN01-0093R/KEN01-0093R.pdf [PDF – 454 Kb]
This tip sheet for parents and educators highlights possible emotional reactions to a traumatic event and provides age-appropriate tips for helping children cope.
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Geriatric Mental Health Foundation. (2009). Older adults and disaster: Preparedness and response. Retrieved from the website of the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation at http://www.gmhfonline.org/gmhf/consumer/disaster_prprdns.html
This guide is designed to help older adults, their family members, and other caregivers prepare for and respond to disasters. The web page describes factors that affect vulnerability, actions that can be taken before and after a disaster strikes, and provides links to resources for additional support.
Oriol, W. (1999). Psychosocial issues for older adults in disasters (HHS Publication No. ESDRB SMA 99-3323). Retrieved from http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content//SMA99-3323/SMA99-3323.pdf [PDF - 244 Kb]
The authors define "elderly" and explore the nature of disasters and older adults’ reactions to them. They also supply mental health professionals, emergency response workers, and caregivers tools to provide disaster mental health and recovery support to older adults.
Texas Department of State Health Services. (2009). What you need to know about . . . helping the elderly recover from the emotional aftermath of a disaster. Retrieved from http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/preparedness/factsheet_elderly_emotional_recovery.pdf [PDF- 149.5 Kb]
This fact sheet lists common reactions older adults may experience after a disaster, warning signs that someone may need extra help, and strategies to help older adults with their special needs.
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National Organization on Disability (NOD). (n.d.). Prepare yourself: Disaster readiness tips for people with sensory disabilities. Retrieved from http://www.disastersrus.org/MyDisasters/disability/epips2sensory.pdf [PDF - 155.84 KB]
This brochure from NOD outlines disaster preparedness tips for those who have sensory-related challenges, including warning and response planning and learning more about shelters for people with special needs.
Ready.gov. (2013). Individuals with Access and Functional Needs. Retrieved from http://www.ready.gov/individuals-access-functional-needs
This website was developed by the Department of Homeland Security in consultation with AARP, the American Red Cross, and the National Organization on Disability. It provides links to information such as staying independent after an emergency (e.g., considering medications and equipment), creating an emergency supply kit, ensuring federal benefits continue after a disaster, and volunteering with local emergency response groups.
Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Communication Enhancement. (n.d.). Disaster preparedness tips for emergency management personnel: Communication access for people with limited speech. Retrieved from http://aac-rerc.psu.edu/images/file/DPFirst%20respondersv_8for%20printing.pdf [PDF – 1.29 MB]
This tip sheet reviews different methods of augmentative and alternative communication, including speech-generating devices and personal communication displays. It provides helpful graphics and lists general steps that emergency responders should take to prepare to meet the needs of individuals with limited speech.
U.S. Department of Justice. (2008). An ADA guide for local governments: Making community emergency preparedness and response programs accessible to people with disabilities. Retrieved from http://www.ada.gov/emergencyprepguide.htm
This guide provides recommendations for local governments and agencies to use in making disaster response accessible to people with disabilities. The authors also list suggestions for creating accessible shelters and training staff to deal with service animals, medications, and communication.
University of New Mexico, Center for Development and Disability. (n.d.). Tips for first responders (5th ed.). Retrieved from http://www.cdd.unm.edu/cms/Programs/dhpdredesign/pdfs/FifthEditionTipsSheet.pdf [PDF - 355 Kb]
This 32-page booklet provides tip sheets for first responders to accommodate and communicate with special populations, including people with autism, older adults, people with cognitive disabilities, and childbearing women and newborns.
(Available in Spanish at http://www.cdd.unm.edu/dhpd/tips/tipsspanish.html)
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CDC. (2002). Traumatic incident stress: Information for emergency response workers. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2002-107/pdfs/2002-107.pdf [PDF - 423 Kb]
This fact sheet outlines symptoms of traumatic incident stress and what emergency response workers can do on site and at home to cope with disaster response.
Phillips, Psy.D., S. and Kane, GSW. D. (n.d.). Guidelines for Working with First Responders (Firefighters, Police, Emergency Medical Service and Military) in the Aftermath of Disaster. Retrieved from http://www.agpa.org/home/practice-resources/group-interventions-for-trauma/general-information-on-trauma-for-clinicians-and-the-public-at-large/guidelines-for-working-with-first-responders-%28firefighters-police-emergency-medical-service-and-military%29-in-the-aftermath-of-disaster
This online tip sheet lists common characteristics of disaster responders, suggests interventions for working with disaster responders, and provides additional resources in working with this population.
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress. (2005). Leadership stress management. Retrieved from http://www.cstsonline.org/wp-content/resources/CSTS_leadership_stress_management.pdf [PDF - 69.1 Kb]
This fact sheet discusses tips for leaders that can help monitor and minimize their own levels of stress when managing teams during traumatic events.
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress. (2006). Natural disasters: Optimizing officer and team performance. Retrieved from http://www.cstsonline.org/wp-content/resources/CSTS_law_enforcement_natural_disasters.pdf [PDF - 97.9 Kb]
This tip sheet is intended to help managers and supervisors limit team member stress resulting from disaster response.
HHS, SAMHSA. Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS). (2005). A guide to managing stress in crisis response professions (HHS Publication No. SMA 4113). Retrieved from http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA05-4113/SMA05-4113.pdf [PDF - 1.29 Mb]
This 40-page publication provides first responders with information on the stress cycle (e.g., signs and symptoms of stress), managing stress, and promoting a positive work environment. The authors also offer simple, practical techniques for minimizing stress responses prior to and during disaster response.
HHS, SAMHSA, CMHS. (2007). Tips for Managing and Preventing Stress: A Guide for Emergency Response and Public Safety Workers. Retrieved from http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content//KEN01-0098R2/KEN01-0098R2.pdf [PDF - 1.03 Mb]
This fact sheet gives organizational and individual tips for stress prevention and management for emergency response workers and public safety workers. It describes normal reactions to a disaster, signs of the need for stress management, and strategies for handling stress.
HHS, SAMHSA DTAC. (n.d.) Self-Care for Disaster Behavioral Health Responders Podcast. Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/dtac/selfcareDBHResponders/selfcareDBHResponders-presentation.pdf [PDF - 1.38 Mb]
The goal of this recently released 60-minute SAMHSA DTAC podcast is to provide information, best practices, and tools that enable disaster behavioral health responders and supervisors to identify and effectively manage stress and secondary traumatic stress through workplace structures and self-care practices.
A transcript of the podcast is located at: http://www.samhsa.gov/dtac/selfcareDBHResponders/selfcareDBHResponders-transcript.pdf [PDF - 140.74 Kb].
New Jersey Center for Public Health Preparedness. (2005). First responders: Self-care, wellness, health, resilience, and recovery dealing with stress. Retrieved from http://www.njdcisr.org/elearn_firstresponders_pdf.html
This presentation covers how first responders can deal with the stress they feel while helping their communities respond to and recover from a disaster, how they can prepare for the pressure they face, and how they can help their families prepare for disasters.
Young, B. H., Ford, J. D., & Watson, P. J. (2007, January 1). Disaster rescue and response workers. Retrieved from the National Center for PTSD website at http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/pages/disaster-rescue-response.asp
This fact sheet explains the different stressors that affect disaster response workers and provides tips on how to cope with stress during, after, and upon returning home from a disaster assignment.
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Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. (2004, summer). Becoming a couple again: How to create a shared sense of purpose after deployment. Retrieved from http://www.militarymentalhealth.org/resources/pdf/USU%20Becoming%20a%20Couple%20Again.pdf [PDF - 406 KB]
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."
HHS, SAMHSA. (2005). Returning home after disaster relief work: A post-deployment guide for families of emergency and disaster response workers (HHS Publication No. NMH05-0220). Retrieved from http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/emergencypreparedness/resilience_resources/support_documents/postdeploy/
This guide is intended to assist employees with their transition home following deployment. Tips for adjusting to life at home and recognizing signs of stress are followed by helpful resources.
HHS, SAMHSA. (2005). Returning home after disaster relief work: A post-deployment guide for supervisors of deployed personnel (HHS Publication No. NMH05-0218). Retrieved from http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/emergencypreparedness/resilience_resources/support_documents/supervisorhome/
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.
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CDC. (2005). Disaster mental health for responders: Key principles, issues and questions. Retrieved from http://www.bt.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/pdf/responders.pdf [PDF - 188 Kb]
This fact sheet highlights mental health-related information that can be beneficial for a first responder in recovery efforts after a disaster.
National Center for PTSD. (2007). Early mental health intervention for disasters. Retrieved from http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/pages/early-intervention-disasters.asp
This fact sheet offers information on crisis intervention, psychological first aid (PFA), and how to overcome obstacles that may prevent a survivor from seeking services.
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Mental Health Disaster Preparedness and Response. (2005). Providing Psychological First Aid (PFA). Retrieved from http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/mhdpr/mhdpr-pfa.pdf [PDF - 40.4 Kb]
This tip sheet offers quick reference to the principals of PFA and self-care tips for first responders.
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress. (2005). Guidelines on notifying families of dead or missing loved ones. Retrieved from http://www.cstsonline.org/wp-content/resources/CSTS_guidelines_missing_death_notification.pdf [PDF – 56.5 Kb]
This fact sheet provides guidance for first responders assisting in the recovery efforts for events with large numbers of dead, injured, and missing persons. It offers tactics and what to avoid when notifying families of dead or missing loved ones.
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress. (2005). Psychological First Aid: Helping victims in the immediate aftermath of disaster. Retrieved from http://www.cstsonline.org/wp-content/resources/CSTS_psychological_first_aid.pdf [PDF - 436 Kb]
This tip sheet offers first responders quick guidelines for conducting PFA.
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress. (2005). Psychological First Aid: How you can support well-being in disaster victims. Retrieved from http://www.cstsonline.org/wp-content/resources/CSTS_psychological_first_aid.pdf [PDF - 76 Kb]
This tip sheet offers first responders quick guidelines for conducting PFA.
HHS, SAMHSA. (2005). Psychological First Aid for first responders: Tips for emergency and disaster response workers (HHS Publication No. NMH05-0210). Retrieved from http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content//NMH05-0210/NMH05-0210.pdf [PDF - 400 Kb]
This pamphlet provides a brief explanation of PFA for first responders and information for managing intense emotions some survivors may express.
Young, B. H., Ford, J. D., & Watson, P. J. (2007, January 1). Helping survivors in the wake of disaster. Retrieved from the National Center for PTSD’s website at http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/pages/helping-survivors-after-disaster.asp
This web page offers information on common reactions to disasters, identifies more severe reactions, and the priorities and goals for first responders providing disaster behavioral health assistance.
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Last updated 01/30/2014
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A Guide for Parents, Teachers and Care-Givers.
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This installment of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series (DBHIS) focuses on first responders and, currently, Hurricane Sandy.