Psychological Services

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All members of the family should have clear information and education about potential disasters and their effects and complacency countered by emphasising simple cost-effective preventive means. Protective measures of home and property are helped to be put in place. Emergency drills,
contingency plans and role assignments are encouraged.
These measures are intensified when a disaster looms. Vulnerable members are identified and plans made for them. Pros and cons of evacuation and family separation are discussed.
Help may need to be given to clearly identify individual adults’ different roles and places in helping and communication networks. Any potential conflicts between roles (e.g., fire fighter and family protector) should be clarified and prioritisation of roles rehearsed.
Individual denial should be countered by information and education about prevention and training and exercises provided for different potential disaster eventualities.
These measures increase as disasters are impending. Information and warnings intensify and help given to make them easier to absorb. Help is given to assist in difficult choices and to prioritise what may be abandoned or sacrificed and what should be preserved.
Information is needed to be provided about expected emotions such as fear and their effects so they can be anticipated, e.g., tendency to abandon rehearsed procedures when in states of fear.
Children’s developmental phases and parental filters greatly influence their understanding and responses to safety precautions and preparation for disasters. Roughly, children under 3 years old are totally dependent on adults.
Children aged 4-7 can obey by rote, while children over 7 act ever more like adults with increasing age.

Psychological service provision can help to educate parents and schools about how to provide information, education, preparation and exercises to children of different ages.

If separation from parents is required, this information should be prepared,
measured and explained. Separation anxieties may also be mitigated by contact with trusted adults other than parents and by retaining pets, toys,
photos and transitional objects such as teddy bears and security blankets.

Adults should be encouraged to explain to children that the coming events and separations are not their fault or responsibility.

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