16: Psychological First Aid

It should come as no surprise that any ARES member responding to a disaster needs skills beyond his or her knowledge of ham radio.  One that you might not think of initially is a brief coursein Psychological First Aid, or PFA.  Psychological First Aid may be useful when dealing with disaster victims, with you fellow disaster responders or even as a coping strategy for yourself.

Like traditional first aid, PFA is a way to patch up people affected by disaster until they can be properly treated by clergy, social workers and/or mental health professionals.  Everyone responding to disasters would benefit from a day of PFA training.

The American Red Cross offers Psychological First Aid classes to its volunteer and paid staff.  Contact your local chapter for training near you.

The Pennsylvania and Ohio Public Health Training Center offers Stress Response During Disasters: An Overview for Healthcare Workers.
A third option is the 6 hour online Psychological First Aid course from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.  You can register for it at http://learn.nctsn.org/course/.