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Response, Stress Impacts of

  • By: David Alexander
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

Emergency situations are characterized by complex, chaotic operations that must be conducted with a high degree of dedication, responsibility, and efficiency. Commanders and coordinators are well aware that mistakes in decision making can put lives at risk. Moreover, during crises, a first responder or emergency manager may have to work long hours, and thus suffer a deterioration in morale and in the quality of his or her work.

Generally, disasters do not cause permanent mental illness, but they can result in states of stress or depression that require considerable effort to overcome. These may be present in both survivors and rescuers. For the latter, rescue operations that have failed in some way can lead to intense soul-searching, and spark the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder ...

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