Financial Recovery After Disaster

By: Mollie Melbourne

The University of Minnesota has developed a comprehensive toolkit for families that have experienced financial hardship following a disaster.

This Recovery After Disaster: The Family Financial Toolkit discusses strategies and provides tools that can help you move along the road towards financial recovery. The tools provided in this toolkit are designed to help families make decisions that are best for their family. This toolkit is designed so that those financially impacted by a disaster can utilize the individual units or use the entire toolkit as their situation requires.

This would be a great resource to have available to help your patients and staff who have been impacted.  There is even a section aimed at professionals to help highlight the ways that this can be used to help families.

Been there, done that…

By: Mollie Melbourne

First hand accounts of disaster response remind us of the human impact following many events.  They show us the ways that communities come together, organizations take extraordinary steps to help the people in their area, and individual efforts can make a difference.

Here is the story of how Betty Jean Kerr-People’s Health Center (BJK-PHC) in St. Louis, MO responded for three days to a tornado that struck on April 22:

Following the tornado that struck Berkeley, MO and surrounding areas, we established teams to 1) assess streets/locations in Berkeley with most damage/need; 2) prepare literature packets for distribution; 3) sort clothing and 4) pack boxes for vehicles; and 5) provide counseling and medical services.   Our team included Shalom Church volunteers as well and we set up tables for staging registration and distribution of clothing and food in the Shalom Church parking lot.  Each morning, we assembled as a team at 9:00am to discuss plan for disaster relief activities for that day.

Our daily activities included distributing clothes, water and literature and letting people who were affected by the tornadoes know about the services BJK-PHC’s and Amanda Luckett Murphy Hopewell Behavioral Centers have to offer. We drove the BJK-PHC’s Mobile Van through the community to let them know that we were there to help them and set up the van for counseling and therapy sessions.  We also had media coverage of our activities at a number of locations.

We distributed quite a lot of items and offered kind words of encouragement and listened when folks just wanted to talk and vent.  Once the mobile van and teams returned to the Shalom Church parking lot about 2:30pm, we helped people who were gathered at our staging area.  We briefed every day at 3:30pm to discuss the plans for the next day.

Here are a few more stories that offer a great perspective of how health centers and Community HealthCorps members can fit into emergency response:

Do you have a story to share?  We’d love to hear from you.

Happy Hurricane Season!!

By: Mollie Melbourne

The first day of June also ushers in the first day of Hurricane Season.  Just like last year, experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are calling for an above average number of hurricanes with predictions for 2011 of 12 to 18 named storms from June 1 through November 30.

Even with predictions of an active hurricane season, it is difficult to guess with any certainty if one of the hurricanes this year will make landfall and impact health centers and their patients.  But, it isn’t hard to imagine that health centers that worked to coordinate disaster planning with local partners and helped their staff prepare for emergencies will be better able to help their patients, their staff, and their community.

Use the start of Hurricane Season as a reason to review your health center’s emergency management plan and remind your staff about the importance of a personal and family plan – even if you don’t live in a hurricane area.  We can’t predict or control when or where an emergency happens, but we can prepare for the unexpected.

Here are some great resources to help get you started: