Preparedness

As well as physical and practical preparation, it is helpful for people to know how to prepare psychologically before a disaster and how to cope emotionally during or after a disaster.

Being psychologically prepared can:

  • assist people to think more clearly
  • help people to make rational decisions about how much they can do themselves and when to leave the situation to the expertise of emergency services
  • reduce the risk of serious injury and loss of life or property.
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Household preparedness

Pamphlets and brochures available from local council offices, emergency services and community groups provide helpful information on how to be prepared and what to do in an emergency situation to protect lives, homes and property.

Red Cross

Australian Red Cross provides information on preparing a household emergency plan. They have resources for adults, children and for people with disabilities.

Australian Emergency Management

Australian Emergency Management (EM) is an Australian federal government agency tasked with coordinating governmental responses to emergency incidents. EM has produced a series of free community awareness and education publications which provide background information and advice on preparing for and coping with major hazards.

Preparing kids for disasters and emergencies

Several organisations have prepared education materials to help children better understand and prepare for natural disasters and emergencies.

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Psychological preparedness

Having a better understanding of one's likely psychological responses in an emergency situation can help people to feel more in control and better able to cope. Being psychologically prepared can:

  • assist people to think more clearly
  • help people to make rational decisions about how much they can do themselves and when to leave the situation to the expertise of emergency services
  • reduce the risk of serious injury and loss of life or property.

Being cooler, calmer and more collected can also be very helpful to family members and others who may not be as well-prepared psychologically for what is happening. This mindset will also help to reduce the distress after the disaster has passed.

AIM for psychological preparedness

The Australian Psychological Society (APS) has developed a model that aims for psychological preparedness in three steps:

  1. Anticipate scenarios including any anxiety and concerns that may arise
  2. Identify uncomfortable or distressing thoughts and feelings that may cause further anxiety, along with ways of managing these situations both physically and psychologically
  3. Manage the responses so that the ability to cope remains as effective as possible.

An easy way to remember the skills involved in being psychologically prepared is to focus on AIMing for psychological as well as emergency household preparedness.

Preparedness and disaster planning

The Australian Child & Adolescent Trauma, Loss & Grief Network (ACATLGN) has prepared resources relevant to parents, other carers and school staff to aid the needs of children, families, and school communities in disaster preparedness.

Preparing for Bad Weather Triple P Survival Guide

The Child and Adolescent Disaster Response and the University of Queensland have developed the Preparing for Bad Weather Triple P Survival Guide. The guide assists parents with helping children to feel prepared, not scared, as another bad weather season approaches. It includes a tip sheet, a video presentation and a podcast.