After a disaster or crisis, people may feel alone and isolated. There are numerous resources available to help people through difficult times, including community programs and religious organizations that help people in need. Some things to consider:
- You may have members who are involved with these types of organizations and who can act as liaisons for communication and support activities.
- Your union could establish more formal relationships with these groups to build solidarity and fellowship with each other.
Resources to help disaster victims get back on their feet
2-1-1 Disaster and Emergency Assistance: Many 2-1-1 locations partner with the Department of Homeland Security, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and community emergency management programs to provide answers, services and relief in times of natural or man-made disasters.
- 2-1-1 offers up-to-date information on road closures, evacuation routes, shelters, disaster relief assistance and recovery resources.
- It also may provide information on disaster-related volunteer opportunities and relief efforts so you can put your time and talent to work in the areas where they’re needed most.
Aside from disaster assistance, 2-1-1 offers information on crisis and emergency resources on emotionally abusive or physically dangerous relationships, bullying, sexual assault, alcohol abuse and suicide prevention; food resources that can connect you with information about school lunch programs and summer food service programs for children; health information about healthcare services for infants and new parents, and child care services for working parents; housing and utilities resources to find emergency shelters for individuals and families in crisis and other important social service needs.
National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster: Member organizations share knowledge and resources throughout the disaster cycle—preparation, response and recovery—to help disaster survivors and their communities. All organizations have service-oriented missions and include volunteer engagement as a key component of their operations.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: SAMHSA has a hotline for disaster distress information. Call 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. For those who are deaf or hard of hearing, use your preferred relay service to call 800-985-5990. Spanish services are also available.
Additionally, SAMHSA’s Coping Tips for Traumatic Events and Disasters webpage includes:
- Resources on taking care of yourself and your loved ones.
- General disaster response and recovery information.
- Information on incidents of mass violence.
- Resources for disaster responders.
- Traumatic stress and re-traumatization resources.
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network resources.
Department of Veterans Affairs: The VA’s Psychological First Aid program, developed with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, assists people in the immediate aftermath of disaster and terrorism to reduce initial distress and to foster short- and long-term adaptive functioning.
It is for use by first responders, incident command systems, primary and emergency healthcare providers, school crisis response teams, faith-based organizations, disaster relief organizations, Community Emergency Response Teams, the Medical Reserve Corps and the Citizen Corps.
“Action in the Aftermath”: An AFL-CIO disaster preparedness and response manual for unions and working families that is intended to guide future disaster preparedness and response.
The AFL-CIO is:
- Mobilizing union resources, both human and monetary, to help meet the human service needs of households impacted by disasters.
- Working through partnerships with national and community-based allies to maximize public and voluntary agency response and to ensure that resources and services to victims are provided in a fair and nondiscriminatory manner.
- Working in appropriate ways to ensure that union disaster response activities dovetail with union member participation in the AFL-CIO political action, organizing and Voice@Work programs.