Recovering from an emergency
After the immediate threat from a major incident or emergency is over the recovery phase can begin.
The community and businesses will want to return to a state of normality as soon as is practicable.
The incident may leave lasting reminders and normality may have to include the effects of the incident.
The local authority will do as much as is possible to enable a speedy recovery but some responsibilities remain with you as individuals, especially where your family's health and property are concerned.
You may find the following useful in keeping you and your family safe,
- Be aware of new hazards and dangers created by the incident.
- Do not try to do too much, set priorities and pace yourself.
- Wear protective clothing suitable for the task in hand.
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water regularly especially when working with floodwater.
- Ensure you drink plenty of water, eat well and get plenty of rest.
- Contact the local authority or emergency services if you see any hazards to health and safety, such as, damaged power lines; washed out roads, gas leaks, dead animals and chemical releases.
Returning to a damaged home can be physically and mentally challenging the list below will assist you to return to a normal way of life.
- Call your insurance provider;
- If possible take pictures of damage.
- Keep records of any repair work and cleaning costs.
- Beware bogus traders if in doubt contact trading standards via Consumer Direct or 08454 040506.
- Use caution at all times.
- Do not enter until told to do so by emergency services.
- Use a torch until you are sure there are no leaks of gas or other flammable substances. Turn the torch on before entering your home.
- If you smell gas or hear a hissing sound in the building leave immediately and call National Grid for help on 0800 111 999.
- If electrical appliances are wet or have possibly been in contact with water they need to be checked by a professional before use.
- Open doors and windows to vent your property.
- Check with your water supply company before using tap water as it may be contaminated.
Coping with a major incident or emergency may leave yourself or members of your family feeling stressed or mentally affected. Don't feel you have to cope without help and be aware of the signs that yourself or others may need help;
- Mood swings, crying easily, feeling depressed, sad, confused or hopeless.
- Feeling guilt, self-doubt, and frustration.
- Having limited attention span poor concentration and/or poor work performance.
- Difficulty communicating thoughts.
- Sleeping difficulties and unusual sleeping patterns.
- Increased use of alcohol/drugs.
- Headaches/stomach problems/cold or flu-like symptoms.
- Reluctance to leave home, fear of crowds, strangers or being alone.
Major incidents and emergencies can leave people and especially children feeling insecure, confused and frightened even if not directly involved seeing the drama unfold in the media may have an effect.
The following signs may alert parents and teachers to children suffering from post-traumatic stress,
- Children's reactions may become evident immediately after, or some time after, the event.
- Reassurance is the key to helping children with trauma.
- Answer questions honestly, but do not allow the subject to dominate family life indefinitely.
- Encourage all children to express emotions through conversation or drawing.
- Try and keep a normal household routine.
- Encourage children to participate in recreational activities.
- Reduce your expectations temporarily about performance in school or at home.
For further advice visit:
- Trading Standards at Essex County Council
- Crisis Support Team for Essex
- Cruse Bereavement Care
- Disaster Action
- MIND - Mental Health Charity.