Written by Ken Knight1
The bushfires currently affecting communities across the country require a concerted approach from emergency services personnel, as well as professionals working to support these communities and the families within them.
We have compiled a range of resources to assist professionals as they strive to help families and communities prepare for natural disasters, and rebuild their lives in the aftermath.
The Australian Emergency Management website is a key online access point for emergency management resources – it contains up-to-date information on warnings, as well as numbers for state information lines and websites, useful links and disaster-related apps.
Further assistance, including grants to help communities rebuild, is also available for affected areas in New South Wales.
headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, provides a range of resources for young people affected by bushfires. headspace Hobart will be offering a ‘Pop Up Youth Space’ for young people, and their website contains a range of factsheets, stories of how other young people got through natural disasters, and a video on how young people can support themselves in the aftermath of a bushfire.
A number of recent AIFS publications have examined the specific needs of families and communities after natural disasters. Natural disasters and community resilience: A framework for support was written to assist service providers, practitioners and policy makers working with regional and rural communities vulnerable to, or working to recover from the effects of, natural disasters such as bushfires and floods.
Drawing on research-informed clinical wisdom to guide interventions with trauma survivors: The work of Rob Gordon highlights methods of constructive intervention for those working with families in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event, and Life in the aftermath: A summary of the literature on individual and family functioning following natural disasters, offers a review of the research literature on the human response to natural disasters with a particular focus on families, children and adolescents.
Wild Fires – An embedded rural agency story, describes the whole-of-service response to the bushfires that swept through the Grampians region in Victoria in 2006, and Natural disasters: Psychological influences on preparedness outlines how family relationship service providers can assist families to physically and psychologically prepare for natural disaster events.
Our thoughts are with everyone currently affected by bushfires in this country.
If you have other resources to share, please let us know in the comments section below.
1. Ken Knight is a Senior Communications Officer with the Child Family Community Australia information exchange.