Essay Example: Homeland Security Response and Recovery Assignment

Published: 2023-09-14
Essay Example: Homeland Security Response and Recovery Assignment
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Mental health Disaster Homeland security Crisis management
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1370 words
12 min read

Disasters that lead to significant loss of human life such as earthquakes and hurricanes are generally unexpected, rapid, and overpowering for responders. It is vital to organize, design, and adopt post-disaster crisis-oriented amenities. For this to be done, there should be an assimilated, collaborating, and flexible connection structure between the mental health association and crisis administration support. Specific initiatives need to be undertaken by the federal agency to address the psychological challenges of dealing with major loss of life by the responders. The responders should be instructed to develop teamwork and a sense of community, master controlled limited empathy, outline structure, and boundaries, and set up times when they will be checking up on each other.

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One of the guidelines to be given to the responders on handling psychological difficulties of dealing with significant loss of life is to comprehend the written protocols and strategic plans. It is a crucial step since the feeling of being well-prepared, and the sense of undertaking a job correctly serves as protective factors against psychological issues and conditions. Among the initial stages is to include all the team members in the formation of the procedure. Also, the development of teamwork and a sense of community operate as the main protective elements for the responders. Research has further shown that a high sense of team achievement and the guarantee of personal and team proficiencies have been linked with reduced stress levels (Math et al., 2015).

The next guideline is to form a clearly defined leadership cadre. Sub teams should be created, and factors that could inhibit some of the responders from partaking determined. Once this has been done, the potential responders should be informed of the stress they are dealing with and to further assess whether they can handle the additional stress the significant loss of life involved in the disaster. In this guideline, the responders need to be aware of personal vulnerability and any signs of burnout and compassion fatigue (Miller, 2012).

Another way for responders to deal with the psychological challenges of significant loss of life during a disaster is to master controlled limited empathy. Exposure to a disaster where numerous people have lost their lives can be quite severe. Most people and helpers have abundant empathy and can be able to feel the pain of other people. As such, responders can be asked to learn how to control their feelings during a massive loss of life and limit their empathy. Nonetheless, this is usually attained by awareness and coherent messaging (Brassard et al., 2015). Responders may be advised to utilize an image of a screen or short wall in front of them to remind them how to manage their approaches and mostly their compassion to stay functional and professional.

On the other hand, structure and boundaries should be outlined. Responders usually come from diverse disciplines and occupations. Some of them have an authorization while others are forced to adhere to what has been set out by their employer such as tactics. Besides, most responders have various layers of arrangement and instructions that they need to monitor. The most relevant structure in assisting responders manage psychological challenges is to ensure they are clear on their roles and accountabilities in the disaster. When one person’s job is not covered during the disaster, it can create a hazardous situation for the entire team. The replication of effort is correspondingly challenging (Guilaran et al., 2018). Therefore, holding operational teams before the responders are deployed to the disaster scene will assist in defining these structures. The responders who are unclear of what they should be doing and even how to do it need to seek administrative direction instantly.

Self-assessment is essential for prosperous stress administration and self-care. One of the hazards in the disaster response occupation is lack of credit to the impacts of the numerous stressors encountered and how they can affect the lives of the responders. Response from peers can be one strategy to use to assess the way one is managing. Self-reflection is another crucial way. The assessment can further be boosted with supervision. Self-assessment through obtaining from peers can be encouraged during the rescue operations at the disaster event, and this will either determine whether one should continue with the task or seek professional help immediately (Miller, 2012). When a responder obtains feedback that they are not handling the situation correctly, they can opt out of the operation to maintain their sanity and seek professional help to deal with the entire effect of the operation.

On the other hand, there should be disaster mental health services for responders. The federal agency needs to ensure that the services have been pre-arranged and their purpose and protocols comprehended and accepted by the team managers and command staff. The on-scene mental health support should be delivered through consultation, debriefing or crisis intervention services. The main objectives of these interventions should be to enable group consistency and peer support, identify and reinforce resiliency and positive managing styles and consult with the line workers and team managers concerning information about stress reactions and stress management strategies (Math et al., 2015). Thus, it will be relevant for the federal agency to ensure that the responders are aware of these mental health services at the site of the disaster in case they need any form of support or assistance during the operations.

Another crucial element of the instructions to be given to the responders is debriefing. It is a structured procedure that assists the responders to comprehend and manage intense emotions. They also understand efficient coping strategies and get support from their peers. The justification for this procedure is that by offering early mediation which involves group support and peer support are therapeutic elements which lead to stress relief during the disaster operations (Brassard et al., 2015). Debriefing of the responders may further lead to alleviation of symptoms of stress or psychological difficulties.

Additionally, it is relevant for the federal agency to ensure that the responders comprehend the impacts of psychological difficulties when dealing with significant loss of life. Therefore, during the debriefing, it is fundamental to evaluate the responders’ knowledge of what they know and does not know concerning psychological problems that they may face (Guilaran et al., 2018). In this way, they will be aware of the challenge ahead and can further decide on whether they can handle the entire situation.

The responders should be encouraged to set up times where they check with each other regularly during the operation. When doing this, they should listen carefully and further share experiences and feelings that have risen from being in the vicinity of the disaster and undertaking the operations as well getting to witness the vast number of people who have lost their lives. Besides, they can also admit threatening situations and identify success, including the insignificant ones (Math et al., 2015). In this way, they will have the motivation and strength to continue with the operations despite the psychological difficulties they were facing.

The specific orders and directions to responders on addressing psychological challenges of dealing with significant loss of life during a disaster have been discussed. The leader of the federal agency should ensure that the responders understand the written protocols and strategic plans. When they feel that they are well-prepared, it acts as a protective factor against psychological issues and conditions. Also, it is relevant to form a clearly defined leadership cadre and responders master the element of limited controlled empathy. Structure and boundaries should be outlined by ensuring that their roles and responsibilities are outlined plainly. The responders should further be encouraged to set up regular times where they check on each other frequently.


Brassard, C., Giles, D. W., & Howitt, A. M. (2015). Natural disaster management in the Asia-Pacific: Policy and governance. Tokyo [Japan]: Springer.

Guilaran, J., de Terte, I., Kaniasty, K., & Stephens, C. (2018). Psychological outcomes in disaster responders: A systematic review and meta-analysis on the effect of social support. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science, 9(3), 344-358.

Math, S. B., Nirmala, M. C., Moirangthem, S., & Kumar, N. C. (2015). Disaster management: Mental health perspective. Indian journal of psychological medicine, 37(3), 261.

Miller, J. (2012). Psychosocial capacity building in response to disasters. New York: Columbia University Press.

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