When Disasters Have Victims

As part and parcel of damage restoration, we often deal with people who have been victims of a disaster or who have family members who were victims of the disaster. Truly, the loss of home and property is not as devastating as when one's loved ones are hurt or killed. 

The people are always the priority.

The people are always the priority.

Understand that handling a disaster and death or an injured family member is difficult and exhausting

Many people are experts at handling pressure and difficult decisions at their job or for others. But, when they have a personal crisis which involves the injury or death of a loved one, their skills seem to disappear. Even if they retain their crisis skills, they find themselves exhausted when their loved one is hurt or killed. They may even feel guilt. This is normal.

If the disaster involved the home, the family may have to evacuate temporarily.  There are some tips on that here.

The family comes first

The family comes first

Make the loved ones a priority

When a person’s home is the scene of a disaster, they may feel compelled to help aid the process of renovation. The best advice we can offer is: leave the damage to the experts and concentrate on the loved ones. If the injuries are critical, it might be time to make sure their affairs are in order.

Since our society has a very difficult time coming to terms with death, sometimes people focus on the disaster site as a means of escaping the physical or emotional state of their loved one. But, our loved ones need us to be there for them.

If children are involved, it’s particularly important that not only their physical needs are met, but also that signs of grief or trauma be addressed. If one or more of the family members have a disability, their needs will also have to be addressed. 

Try to make the time as peaceful as possible

Anger is one of the stages of grief. When a family undergoes a crisis, there are bound to be feelings of anger and frustration. If it’s possible to step back and understand that being angry is okay, but venting that anger on oneself or others is likely to make an already-bad situation even more difficult. If a person’s feelings become overwhelming, talking to a friend, doctor or professional can help. 

Let others help

One of the hardest things to do in a time of crisis is to ask for help, especially if a victim is usually independent and in control. After a disaster, there will be many things to deal with--the insurance company, concerned friends and relatives, medical or hospital procedures, and even temporary housing. 

Neighbors, friends, family members, and professionals can all help disaster victims put their life back together.

Neighbors, friends, family members, and professionals can all help disaster victims put their life back together.

Whenever possible, other people should be allowed to help, especially if the victims feel overwhelmed. Disaster management is not a skill most people have, nor want to learn, but when the time comes, having a team of people to help resolve issues can make the situation much more manageable.