For Disaster Workers

Given the job nature, those of you working as disaster workers may experience ardent stress in demanding situations, ranging from handling body and mutilated remains, to coming into contact with severely injured or deceased children. These tasks and occasions may lead to emotional responses (see Disaster Overview: What are the impacts of disaster) and in turn affect your work performance and daily life. To help reduce possible stress reactions, you may make reference to the suggestions below and get prepared before disasters [1]:

Operational preparations
  • Attend trainings to acquire relevant knowledge and participate in drills to practice what you have learned. You can even learn how to respond to your stressors. With ample practices, you would be able to perform your job duties with more confidence and less stress at the actual disaster scene.
  • Understand the chain of commands and familiarize yourself with relevant protocols and guidelines, so that you know the reporting lines and how to communicate and collaborate well during an incident.
  • Prepare a "Ready-to-Go" kit, in which essential tools for deployment are gathered in advance to alleviate the pressure of getting everything ready in a hurry.
  • Cultivate a peer support culture at the workplace, through which you and your buddy learn about each other's stress resistance level, thereby providing timely and appropriate support accordingly at actual disaster scenes.
  • "Disaster worker" is a role alongside other roles you play as a father/ mother or son/ daughter in your family. Get your family prepared to protect their lives and properties beforehand, so that you can relieve your worry and concentrate on your work duties.
  • Learn to differentiate between normal and abnormal stress reactions. See Disaster Overview: What are the impacts of disaster for further information.
  • Maintain regular practices of stress management strategies, which include:
    • Incorporation of short relaxation exercise into workday schedule
    • Participation in positive activities more often (e.g. keeping a gratitude journal and appreciating the beautiful things in life)
    • Spending time with family and friends
    • Having adequate sleep
    • Restriction on the intake of caffeine, nicotine or other substances
    • Acquisition of different stress management skills, such as: