The events of September 11 have had an emotional and physical toll on many people as well as an impact on their finances. Even people far removed from the tragedy may experience symptoms of stress. If you or a family member experience prolonged feelings of stress, ask for help. It is a sign of strength, not weakness. Your family doctor, local hospital, or mental health center can assist you.
Take a break from watching, reading, and talking about the event and its repercussions. Many people find comfort through special gatherings to remember those who died, those who work to help victims, and those that serve and protect society. You may wish to volunteer or make a donation. Afterwards, get back into your regular routine, do fun things, and focus on hope for the future.
Children need extra reassurance from parents, caregivers, family, and teachers that they will be all right and that we will keep them safe. Parents should adapt their discussions with children according to their age, temperament and personality. Limit access to news and talk shows for young children because their images and messages are often confusing and scary. You may need to spend extra time with your children while continuing normal routines and activities.
Finally, disaster preparedness is always important. We experience floods, hurricanes, blizzards, and ice storms in this part of the country and now we have to add the threat of terrorism. It is a good idea to plan for communication and supplies. Below are several tips to consider:
Pick one or two family members or friends whom everyone will contact during an emergency. This is someone who will relay important information such as health or whereabouts. Give everyone their address, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses.
Consider getting a cellular phone. It gives you one more way to get in touch. Keep the batteries charged.
E-mail is another way to give and get information. Sometimes these lines are open even when telephone lines are busy.
Have at least one radio or television that runs on batteries. Keep the batteries charged and have extras on hand.
Keep a list of critical things to grab if you had 20 minutes or less to gather your things and get out. Suggestions: medications, first-aid supplies, water and food, clothing, warm jacket/sweatshirt, rainwear, flashlights, radio, small games or books, blankets, and comfort items for children (stuffed animal or favorite toy).
Keep an up-to-date list of important health information for each family member. Include doctors, brief health history, allergies, regular medications (drug name and dose), and insurance information. Place this with your emergency kit.
Keep a recent photograph of each family member along with your health information.
This message is sponsored by Rutgers Cooperative Extension. For further information about available educational programs and other services, contact your local Rutgers Cooperative Extension office.