Preparing for Emergencies; Dealing with Tragedy

RENO, Nev. - The tragedy in Boston earlier this week touched people across the nation. Many will be dealing with the aftermath for some time, especially those that were directly affected.

“They're going to feel all different sorts of emotions,” Retired Air Force Major and crisis intervention expert Brian Heinrich said. “Some will feel regret, some will feel anger, some will feel pain and some will have reoccurring thoughts and processes about this. What we're looking for is anything out of the ordinary from their normal personality; people who may all of a sudden sleep more or sleep less, folks who become more reclusive or exhibit risky behavior,that's when we know that somebody who may not want to get help needs help and they should look for services immediately.”

He says there are plenty of resources in Northern Nevada including crisis counseling centers and doctors who can refer to specialists. It's important not to wait.

“Getting to this at the very beginning is very important when it comes to treatment plans and those types of things,” Heinrich said.

And being prepared is something that can help these types of situations. Heinrich recommends being more aware of your surroundings at all times. It's training police, first responders and military personnel receive to respond to all kinds of crises.

“Being prepared and understanding what's going on around you at all times is called situational awareness,” Heinrich said. “Developing that knowledge of your environment, where you are, where the safe locations are in case something happens, where you can go to find first responders, those sorts of things.”

That kind of awareness can be invaluable.

“The more we're aware the more effective we become in any kind of investigation or any response,” Heinrich said. “So I saw something and someone is putting that piece together with what someone else saw so you have all these perspectives that are coming in because you have that situational awareness and that's what helps in an investigation”

It's these types of skills that response teams deal with the aftermath.

“What happens when we have unfortunate events like this is all these response teams get together and learn from each other, all these lessons learned will be put together and the transmitted to other organizations,” Heinrich said. “We become more effective as a nation so understanding your surroundings isn't just for you; it's for all of us.”


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