I am a Colorado Springs resident. It is really amazing how this entire community, the surrounding communities and all people in general are pulling together to help one another. The citizens of Colorado Springs, people in the community, are becoming local heroes by offering up their homes to friends, pets and strangers. Most of all the police department, the forest service and the firefighters have all been super heroes during this time.
I posted earlier this week on my personal facebook page: “Right now is the time for people to join together in one solid focus of prayers, thoughts, direction and most importantly actions to come together in this time of need. If you are in Colorado or know someone who is, execute YOUR role with confidence and do it brilliantly. Thank you to all of those already fighting on the forefront. We will persevere, unite, renew and rebuild.”
The city, surrounding areas and people here – right now are the absolute picture of community.
In light of this recent disaster that has affected our area, the place where my home is – I thought I would share some tips that were sent to me through my son’s schools district. This contains good information for everyone not just youth, but parents as well, all people. Consider replacing the words “child” or “children” with “YOU” or “YOUR”! Please share this with your family and friends. This information is comprised from more that one article.
Below are tips and resources for families and children dealing with the crisis of the Waldo Fire. Please feel free to share with neighbors and friends. These are recommendations compiled by the Academy District 20 Crisis Team.
From Martha Hinson, District 20 Crisis Team:
Some important tips for parents as we deal with the ongoing wildfire disaster response:
1) Please monitor and limit your child’s exposure to media during this time. Watching the fire over and over will increase trauma and stress in children and adolescents. Research has proven this in lessons learned from 9/11.
2) Also monitor and limit the amount of time your children and adolescents spend on Facebook, tweeting and other social media sites. These also have graphic pictures as well as information that may be nonfactual which will cause again undue anxiety, trauma, and stress.
3) Making contact with others can help reduce feelings of distress. It benefits all of us to get involved with activities where we can contribute and help like collecting food for evacuees as well as activities that are just fun like movies, bowling, playing games, etc.
4) Children and adolescents can benefit from spending some time with other similar-age peers.
Social supports are huge during a crisis, especially for adolescents!
WHEN TERRIBLE THINGS HAPPEN
Provided by the National Center for PTSD
- Distressing thoughts or images of the event while awake or dreaming
- Upsetting emotional or physical reactions to reminders of the experience
- Feeling like the experience is happening all over again (“flashback”)
- Avoid talking, thinking, and having feelings about the traumatic event
- Avoid reminders of the event (places and people connected to what happened)
- Restricted emotions; feeling numb
- Feelings of detachment and estrangement from others; social withdrawal
- Loss of interest in usually pleasurable activities
- Constantly being “on the lookout” for danger, startling easily, or being jumpy
- Irritability or outbursts of anger
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep, problems concentrating or paying attention
- Places, people, sights, sounds, smells, and feelings that remind you of the disaster
- Can bring on distressing mental images, thoughts, and emotional/physical reactions
- Common examples include: sudden loud noises, the smell of fire, sirens of ambulances, locations where you experienced the disaster, seeing people with disabilities, funerals, anniversaries of the disaster, and television/radio news about the disaster
WHAT DOESN’T HELP
- Using alcohol or drugs to cope
- Working too much
- Extreme avoidance of thinking or talking about the event
- Withdrawing from family or friends
- Anger or violence
- Not taking care of yourself
- Overeating or failing to eat
- Doing risky things
- Excessive TV or computer games
- Withdrawing from pleasant activities
- Blaming others
- Talking to another person for support
- Spending time with others
- Engaging in positive distracting activities (sports, hobbies, reading)
- Using relaxation methods (breathing exercises, meditation, calming self-talk)
- Getting adequate rest and eating healthy meals
- Participating in a support group
- Maintain a normal schedule
- Exercising in moderation
- Scheduling pleasant activities
- Keeping a journal
- Taking a break
- Seeking Counseling