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Disaster Preparedness & Response Resources


Resources on Wildfires:
(In alphabetical order)

After the fire: Your emotional and physical well-being-This tip sheet from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains normal reactions to stress and includes steps an individual can take to cope with the stress and stay healthy even during the cleanup that follows a wildfire.

For anyone affected by the California wildfires-Written in 2007 following the wildfires in California, this tip sheet may be helpful in explaining why wildfires can cause traumatic stress reactions and what can be done to help those in crisis.

Recovering from the wildfires-This web page from the American Psychological Association offers tips on how to help the whole family recover after a wildfire and when to seek professional help.

Recovery after a wildfire-This webpage from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network is designed to assist parents and families after a wildfire. Recovery materials are available in English and Spanish under the "Recovery" tab.

Surviving the storm: A guide to wildfire preparedness-This guide from the Federal Emergency Management Agency explains how to keep safe before, during, and after a wildfire.


Resources for Special Populations:
(In alphabetical order)

Children and Families:

Childhood traumatic grief educational materials for parents-These factsheets from NCTSN describe childhood traumatic grief, how it differs from other kinds of grief, common signs and other tips for parents.  It is available in English and Spanish.
In English:
In Spanish:

Helping children after a wildfire: Tips for parents and teachers-This tip sheet from the National Association of School Psychologists discusses what parents and teachers can do to help children cope after a wildfire.

Parents guidelines for helping children impacted by wildfires-This guide from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network explains how parents can help children recover after a wildfire.

(Also available in Spanish at

Responding to wildfires: Helping children and families; Information for school crisis teams-This article by the National Association of School Psychologists provides possible stress reactions experienced by children after a wildfire and how crisis response teams can help them and their families.

Secondary traumatic stress: A fact sheet for child serving professionals-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.

Tips for talking to children and youth after traumatic events: A guide for parents and educators-This tip sheet for parents 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. 

Wildfires: Tips for parents on media coverage- This guide from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network explains how parents can help children recover after a wildfire.
(Also available in Spanish at


Older Adults:

Older adults and disaster: Preparedness and response-This guide from the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation helps older adults, their family members, and their caregivers to prepare for and respond to disasters. The webpage describes who is most vulnerable, lists actions that can be taken before and after a disaster strikes, and provides a list of resources for additional support.

Psychosocial Issues for Older Adults in Disasters-This booklet gives mental health professionals, emergency response workers, and caregivers tools to provide disaster mental health and recovery support to older adults. Defines "elderly" and explores the nature of disasters and older adults' reactions to them. 

What you need to know about...helping the elderly recover from the emotional aftermath of a disaster-This one-page fact sheet lists common reactions older adults may have after a disaster and warning signs that someone may need extra help, as well as strategies to help older adults with their special needs. 

People with Disabilities:

Disabled people and disaster planning-This website provides recommendations to reduce or eliminate the barriers to access that many people with disabilities experience after disasters.

Individuals with access and 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 recommendations for creating an emergency supply kit for people with disabilities.

Tips for first responders- This 28-page booklet provides tips for responders during emergencies and routine encounters to accommodate and communicate with people with disabilities. Separate sections address populations including seniors; people with service animals, autism, multiple chemical sensitivities, or cognitive disabilities; and people who are hearing or visually impaired.


Other General Disaster Response Resources:
(In alphabetical order)

Be Red Cross ready: Taking care of your emotional health after a disaster-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.  

Mass disasters, trauma, and loss-This fact sheet from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies 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.  

Psychological First Aid (PFA)-The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) and the National Center for PTSD provide an evidence-informed approach for assisting children, adolescents, adults, and families in the aftermath of disasters and terrorism. The manual includes handouts and tips for survivors and providers and can be downloaded in English, Spanish, Japanese, or Chinese.

PFA online training-According to its online description, PFA Online is an "interactive course that puts the participant in the role of a provider in a post-disaster scene. It features innovative activities, video demonstrations, and mentor tips from the nation's trauma experts and survivors."

Psychological first aid: How you can support well-being in disaster victims-This fact sheet from the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress explains how disaster response workers can use psychological first aid to help people in distress after a disaster.  

Reactions to a major disaster: A fact sheet for survivors and their families-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.

SAMHSA Disaster Kit-This kit contains psychoeducational materials to help guide effective response during and after a disaster. Materials also deal with workplace stress and can be used to educate the general public on disaster concerns.  Kits can be ordered from the SAMHSA Store by calling 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727) or the materials can be downloaded electronically.


Please also remember that 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, seven 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 natural or human caused disasters. Callers are connected to trained and caring professionals from crisis counseling centers in the network.  The Helpline staff provides confidential counseling, referrals and other needed support services.