Hurricane Irene has come and gone, and now different organizations are looking at what can be done better when a disaster hits. The State Team Organized for the Review of Management of Irene (S.T.O.R.M. Irene) has held its first meeting. Various organizations, including the Federal Government and private non-profit organizations continue to supply support in the aftermath of the storm.
Rose-Ann Wanczyk, a clinician at CHC’s school based health center at the Roger Sherman Elementary School in Meriden, CT has a special view on this. After 9/11, she and a few others from CHC signed up to be emergency behavioral health responders in the case of a disaster. She obtained special training yet had not been deployed until Hurricane Irene hit.
After the storm, she rode with teams of Red Cross volunteers that had come to Connecticut to assist with recovery efforts. With her background in helping children, she prepared for meeting kids struggling with the destruction the storm had brought. She knew how unfair storms can be. She understood how devastating it can be to have objects ladened with memories swept away with flood waters.
However, rescue efforts often turn out different that we anticipate them, and this was the case for Rose-Ann as well. She didn’t run into any kids to help. Instead, the people she spent the most time talking with were the volunteers in from out of state. While there is great camaraderie amongst volunteers and it is great to see people helping one another and remembering to be caring, volunteers can get worn down and appreciate having someone to talk with.
Looking back on the experience, Rose-Ann hopes that others will step forward to be trained. People interested in find out more information are encouraged to visit the Center for Trauma Response, Recovery and Preparedness website.